IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Universal Public Health Insurance and Private Coverage: Externalities in Health Care Consumption


  • Sherry A. Glied


Inequality in access to health care services, through private purchase, appears to pose policy challenges greater than inequality in other spheres. This paper explores how inequality in access to health care services relates to social welfare. I examine the sources of private demand for health insurance and the ramifications of this demand for health, for patterns for government spending on health care services, and for individual and social well-being. Finally, I evaluate the implications of a health tax as a response to the externalities of health service consumption, and provide a rough measure of the tax in the context of the Canadian publicly-financed health care system.

Suggested Citation

  • Sherry A. Glied, 2008. "Universal Public Health Insurance and Private Coverage: Externalities in Health Care Consumption," NBER Working Papers 13885, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13885
    Note: HC HE PE

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nichols, Albert L & Zeckhauser, Richard J, 1982. "Targeting Transfers through Restrictions on Recipients," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(2), pages 372-377, May.
    2. Epple, Dennis & Romano, Richard E, 1996. "Public Provision of Private Goods," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(1), pages 57-84, February.
    3. Antonia Morga & Ana Xavier, "undated". "Hospital specialists' private practice and its impact on the number of NHS patients treated and on the delay for elective surgery," Discussion Papers 01/01, Department of Economics, University of York.
    4. Iversen, Tor, 1997. "The effect of a private sector on the waiting time in a national health service," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 381-396, August.
    5. Olivella, Pau, 2003. "Shifting public-health-sector waiting lists to the private sector," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 103-132, March.
    6. Mark Stabile, 2001. "Private insurance subsidies and public health care markets: evidence from Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 34(4), pages 921-942, November.
    7. Johnson, David B & Pauly, Mark V, 1969. "Excess Burden and the Voluntary Theory of Public Finance," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 36(143), pages 269-276, August.
    8. Manning, Willard G. & Marquis, M. Susan, 1996. "Health insurance: The tradeoff between risk pooling and moral hazard," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 609-639, October.
    9. Lindsay, Cotton M, 1969. "Medical Care and the Economics of Sharing," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 36(144), pages 351-362, November.
    10. Lindsay, Cotton M & Feigenbaum, Bernard, 1984. "Rationing by Waiting Lists," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 404-417, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Omar Paccagnella & Vincenzo Rebba & Guglielmo Weber, 2013. "VOLUNTARY PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE AMONG THE OVER 50s IN EUROPE," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(3), pages 289-315, March.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13885. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.