Race And Racial Perceptions Shape Burden Tolerance For Medicaid And The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

Simon F. Haeder, Donald Moynihan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Safety-net programs do not reach all eligible Americans, partly because of administrative burden, or experiencing bureaucratic obstacles in obtaining and maintaining program benefits. This burden often disproportionately affects historically marginalized groups, adding concerns about equity. We used a national survey to examine public thinking about the acceptability of administrative burdens imposed by states when implementing Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the role of race in these considerations. We found that support for state actions associated with six types of burden was unchanged when respondents were informed about disparate effects by race. Neither racial identity nor prejudice toward other racial groups was associated with support for policies imposing higher burdens. However, non-Hispanic White respondents with higher levels of racial resentment were more supportive of policies that would create burden, whereas respondents who believed that burdens had disparate effects on historically disadvantaged groups favored less burdensome alternatives. Also associated with lower support for more burdensome policies were responses indicative of respondents’ empathy, concerns about ability to manage burdens, Democratic party identification, and program experience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1334-1343
Number of pages10
JournalHealth Affairs
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Policy

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