Research / BFI Working PaperJan 18, 2023

Achieving Universal Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: Addressing Market Failures or Providing a Social Floor?

Katherine Baicker, Amitabh Chandra, Mark Shepard

The United States spends substantially more on health care than most developed countries, yet leaves a greater share of the population uninsured. We suggest that incremental insurance expansions focused on addressing market failures will propagate inefficiencies and are not likely to facilitate active policy decisions that align with societal coverage goals. By instead defining a basic bundle of services that is publicly financed for all, while allowing individuals to purchase additional coverage, policymakers could both expand coverage and maintain incentives for innovation, fostering universal access to innovative care in an affordable system. 

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