The USDA Food and Nutrition Service’s (FNS) 1990 WIC Medicaid Study I (WM-I) found that prenatal WIC participation was associated with improved birth outcomes and savings in Medicaid costs. A 2003 study by Buescher, et al., found that WIC participation during childhood was associated with increased health care utilization and Medicaid costs, and concluded that WIC enhanced children’s linkages to the health care system.
Since these studies, much has changed in the populations and policies that govern WIC and Medicaid, including changes to WIC food packages (implemented in 2009) and increased Medicaid enrollment in managed care, making a new study that would yield comparable findings challenging. This study assessed the feasibility of replicating and potentially expanding the two previous studies under the 2010 policy and participation environments. Though replication of prior study approaches was not feasible, the findings in Missouri and Oklahoma provided useful insights on WIC impacts in those States.