Fallon Lecture: "Fairness in Health Care: Who Pays? Who Benefits?"
Clark Havighurst, William Neal Reynolds Professor Emeritus of Law, Duke University
Location: Law School Auditorium
Description: Lower- and middle-income Americans with health coverage pay not only for their own families’ health care but also to support a vast health care enterprise that primarily benefits others, including many far more affluent than themselves. The system is able to finance itself in part because U.S.-style health insurance greatly amplifies price-gouging opportunities for health care firms with market power. But the resulting cost burden falls ultimately on premium payers like a severely regressive “head tax.” Moreover, these same consumers also bear excessive costs for their own health care because they tend to get less out of their employers’ health plans than their higher-income coworkers. Also, because consumers do not see the costs they bear with any clarity,
the many choices that employers and politicians, as well as industry interests, make on their behalf can systematically neglect economizing possibilities. The burden of excess health care costs and how it is distributed, though rarely recognized as the fundamental issue of social justice it is, should be a principal concern of health policymakers.
Reception to follow.