Yale Insights January 24, 2022
Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham Assistant Professor of Finance Written by Dylan Walsh

At age 65, all Americans become eligible for Medicare. In a new study, Yale SOM’s Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham and his co-authors use this sudden transition to test whether universal health coverage can help reduce racial disparities in health. 

The predominantly White neighborhood of Streeterville in Chicago, nestled along Lake Michigan, boasts an average life expectancy of 90 years. Nine miles to the southwest is the predominantly Black neighborhood of Englewood—where residents live, on average, to be 60. That’s the largest life expectancy gap within a U.S. city. But it’s emblematic of racial and ethnic inequities that pervade the U.S. healthcare system.

One factor contributing to these disparities is the racial gap in insurance coverage. In 2019, according to an analysis of...

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