What Is Affordable Health Insurance? The Reasonable Tradeoff Account of Affordability
Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 2009 December; 19(4): 401-414
The reform of the health care system will include a mandate: Individuals are required to purchase health insurance provided that affordable options are available. But what is affordable health insurance? Three accounts of affordability of health coverage have been advanced. The first two accounts are empirical. The third account is needs-based. All three accounts are inadequate. I propose a fourth, the reasonable tradeoff account, according to which individuals should only be required to make reasonable tradeoffs in order to pay for their health coverage. That is, health insurance is affordable if in order to pay for it one does not to have to sacrifice other benefit(s) that are comparable in importance to the benefits of health coverage.
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