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The Fragmentation of U.S. Health CareCauses and Solutions$
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Einer Elhauge

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195390131

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195390131.001.0001

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A More Equitable and Efficient Approach to Insuring the Uninsurable

A More Equitable and Efficient Approach to Insuring the Uninsurable

(p.221) 10 A More Equitable and Efficient Approach to Insuring the Uninsurable
The Fragmentation of U.S. Health Care

Eric Helland

Jonathan Klick

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that although concern for individuals with relatively high expected health care costs may justify significant cross-subsidization on normative grounds, it makes sense as a matter of fairness and in terms of minimizing attendant efficiency losses to sever the employment link, enacting a program through which cross-subsidization occurs within society more generally. The chapter is organized as follows. Section 2 briefly reviews the literature on labor market distortions related to health insurance benefits. Section 3 discusses how many individuals are likely to be “uninsurable” in an insurance market in which coverage is not tied to a person's employer. Section 4 lays out the proposal to move individuals requiring subsidies to a broad-based pool financed through the federal tax system, and discusses the determinants of health insurance affordability and pricing mechanism. Section 5 discusses the necessary federalization of Medicaid and the abolition of state-level insurance mandates that accompany our proposal. Section 6 examines the experience of other countries in order to shed light on the efficacy of our proposal, and Section 7 concludes.

Keywords:   health care policy, health care costs, health insurance, cross-subsidization

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