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Social Health Insurance: A Quantitative Exploration

Listed author(s):
  • Juergen Jung
  • Chung Tran

We quantify the welfare implications of three alternative approaches to providing social health insurance: (i) a mix of private and public health insurance (US-style), (ii) compulsory universal public health insurance (UPHI), and (iii) private health insurance for workers combined with government subsidies and price regulation. We use a Bewley-Grossman lifecycle model calibrated to match the lifecycle structure of earnings and health risks in the US. For all three systems we find that welfare gains triggered by a combination of improvements in risk sharing and wealth redistribution dominate welfare losses caused by tax distortions and ex-post moral hazard effects. Overall, the UPHI system outperforms the other two systems in terms of welfare gains if the coinsurance rate is properly designed. A switch from the US system to a well-designed UPHI system results in large welfare gains. However, such a radical reform faces political impediments due to opposing welfare effects across different income groups.

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File URL: https://www.cbe.anu.edu.au/researchpapers/econ/wp629.pdf
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Paper provided by Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics in its series ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics with number 2015-629.

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Date of creation: Dec 2015
Handle: RePEc:acb:cbeeco:2015-629
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  1. Mark Huggett & Juan Carlos Parra, 2010. "How Well Does the U.S. Social Insurance System Provide Social Insurance?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(1), pages 76-112, 02.
  2. Julien Hugonnier & Florian Pelgrin & Pascal St-Amour, 2009. "Health and (other) Asset Holdings," Swiss Finance Institute Research Paper Series 09-18, Swiss Finance Institute.
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  8. Raquel Fonseca & Pierre-Carl Michaud & Titus Galama & Arie Kapteyn, 2009. "On the Rise of Health Spending and Longevity," Working Papers 722, RAND Corporation.
  9. Jeske, Karsten & Kitao, Sagiri, 2009. "U.S. tax policy and health insurance demand: Can a regressive policy improve welfare?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 210-221, March.
  10. Juergen Jung & Chung Tran, 2016. "Market Inefficiency, Insurance Mandate and Welfare: U.S. Health Care Reform 2010," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 20, pages 132-159, April.
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  12. Galama, T. & Hullegie, P. & Meijer, E. & Outcault, S., 2012. "Empirical evidence for decreasing returns to scale in a health capital model," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 12/05, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
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  14. Svetlana Pashchenko & Ponpoje Porapakkarm, 2013. "Quantitative Analysis of Health Insurance Reform: Separating Regulation from Redistribution," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(3), pages 383-404, July.
  15. Thomas Stratman, 1999. "What Do Medical Services Buy? Effects of Doctor Visits on Work Day Loss," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 25(1), pages 1-16, Winter.
  16. Juergen Jung & Chung Tran, 2008. "The Macroeconomics of Health Savings Accounts," Caepr Working Papers 2007-023, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
  17. Mark V. Pauly, 1974. "Overinsurance and Public Provision of Insurance: The Roles of Moral Hazard and Adverse Selection," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 88(1), pages 44-62.
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