What Makes Health Care Special?: An Argument for Health Care Insurance

Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 27 (4):561-587 (2017)
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Abstract

Citizens in wealthy liberal democracies are typically expected to see to basic needs like food, clothing, and shelter out of their own income, and those without the means to do so usually receive assistance in the form of cash transfers. Things are different with health care. Most liberal societies provide their citizens with health care or health care insurance in kind, either directly from the state or through private insurance companies that are regulated like public utilities. Except perhaps for small co-pays or deductibles, citizens are not expected to see to their health needs out-of-pocket, at least for some basic level of care. Instead, when a citizen gets sick, the state or her insurance company foots the...

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L. Chad Horne
Northwestern University

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