In America, one in ten people lack health insurance, resulting in $40 billion in unpaid medical bills each year. According to Amitabh Chandra and colleagues, providing all citizens with basic coverage, as other wealthy nations do, could address the most urgent needs and increase efficiency.
Early 1980s saw the implementation of universal health insurance in several high-income nations, including Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. Amitabh Chandra, a professor at Harvard Business School, conducted research that shows that 40 years later, the United States is still falling behind, relying on a patchwork of health policies that amounts to a “fragmented insurance system” that leaves 10% of the population without insurance. According to Chandra’s research, “the United States spends significantly more on health care than most developed countries, but leaves a greater share of the population uninsured.”
Chandra and colleagues provide a potential solution in a recent working paper: establishing a fundamental package of publicly financed health insurance that would safeguard every citizen while enabling people to seek additional coverage through private sales. According to the team, this strategy could result in more creative, less expensive methods of developing medical discoveries in addition to covering more people. Together with Katherine Baicker of the University of Chicago and Mark Shepard, associate professor of public policy at the Kennedy School, Chandra—the Henry and Allison McCance Family Professor of Business Administration at HBS and the Ethel Zimmerman Wiener Professor of Public Policy at Harvard—conducted the study.