Setting Standards for Affordable Health Care

Issue Brief

Setting Standards for Affordable Health Care

A review of concepts to guide policymakers

In the run-up to the presidential election, the affordability of health care remains a top concern of the American voting public. But how do we know when health care is affordable? On a policy level, how do we set a standard for affordability that can be implemented in a reformed system? Sometimes policy debates about affordability focus only on whether insurance premiums are affordable, although consumers tend to be concerned about both premiums and out-of-pocket costs. At Penn LDI’s Medicare for All and Beyond conference, a panel of researchers, policy experts, and consumer advocates discussed and debated affordability in theory and practice. What emerged was a clearer understanding of the value judgments needed, friction points encountered, and principles that policymakers should apply to ensure that health coverage is affordable. This issue brief summarizes the panel’s insights.