Author Affiliations: Department of Bioethics, Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda,
Maryland (Dr Emanuel); Department of Economics, Stanford University,
Stanford, California (Dr Fuchs).
When asked who pays for health care in the United States, the usual answer is “employers, government, and individuals.”
Most Americans believe that employers pay the bulk of workers' premiums and that governments pay for Medicare, Medicaid, the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), and other programs.
However, this is incorrect. Employers do not bear the cost of employment-based insurance; workers and households pay for health insurance through lower wages and higher prices. Moreover, government has no source of funds other than taxes or borrowing to pay for health care.
Emanuel EJ, Fuchs VR. Who Really Pays for Health Care? The Myth of “Shared Responsibility”. JAMA. 2008;299(9):1057–1059. doi:10.1001/jama.299.9.1057
Coronavirus Resource Center
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.