IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Public Policy for Health Care

  • David M. Cutler

This paper reviews the public sector role in the provision of health care. A first role of the government is to use tax policy to correct externalities associated with individual behaviors. Estimates suggest that the external effects of many `sins' such as alcohol consumption are greater than current taxes on these goods. A second role of the government is to correct distortions in markets for medical care and health insurance. Markets for health insurance have traditionally not offered a choice between cost and the generosity of benefits. As a result, there have been incentives for excessive technological development, particularly technologies that increase spending. Once technologies have diffused widely, they are overutilized. Policies to increase choice in insurance markets could increase welfare, provided they limit segmentation on the basis of risk.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5591.

in new window

Date of creation: May 1996
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as A.Auerbach, ed., Fiscal Policy: Lessons From Economic Research, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1997.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5591
Note: AG HC PE
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. James M. Poterba & Lawrence H. Summers, 1985. "Public Policy Implications of Declining Old-Age Mortality," Working papers 378, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  2. Daniel P. Kessler & Mark McClellan, 1996. "Do Doctors Practice Defensive Medicine?," NBER Working Papers 5466, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Jonathan Gruber & James Poterba, 1995. "Tax Subsidies to Employer-Provided Health Insurance," NBER Working Papers 5147, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Samuel H. Preston & Michael R. Haines, 1991. "Fatal Years: Child Mortality in Late Nineteenth-Century America," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number pres91-1, December.
  5. Henry J. Aaron, 1996. "Health Care Reform: The Clash of Goals, Facts, and Ideology," NBER Chapters, in: Individual and Social Responsibility: Child Care, Education, Medical Care, and Long-Term Care in America, pages 107-142 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. D. E. Moggridge, 1995. "Comment," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 27(5), pages 87-91, Supplemen.
  7. A. W. Coats, 1995. "Comment," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 27(5), pages 157-161, Supplemen.
  8. David Cutler, 1994. "Market Failure in Small Group Health Insurance," NBER Working Papers 4879, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Kessler, Daniel & McClellan, Mark, 1996. "Do Doctors Practice Defensive Medicine?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(2), pages 353-90, May.
  10. Fuchs, Victor R, 1996. "Economics, Values, and Health Care Reform," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 1-24, March.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5591. 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: ()

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.