March 1972
Journal of Human Resources;Spring72, Vol. 7 Issue 2, p242
Academic Journal
This article focuses on the role of the federal government of the U.S. in the financing of medical care. The objective of government financing of medical care is frequently expressed as either achieving equal access to care regardless of income or removing income as a barrier to the consumption of medical care or assuring everyone a minimum level of care. It is believed that achieving equal access to health care irrespective of income is not equivalent to assuring all individuals some minimum level of care. The efficient method of achieving the latter is to increase the consumption of those below the minimum. The efficient method of achieving the former is to simultaneously increase the consumption of those at the bottom and decrease the consumption of those at the top. While a nationalized free health service system would be an inefficient method of achieving the minimum provision objective, it could conceivably be the most efficient method of achieving equal access. But, a necessary condition for free provision to be a more efficient alternative than pure subsidization might be artificial restriction of supply.


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