The health-care sector is in many ways the most consequential part of the United States economy. It is a fundamental part of people’s lives, supporting their health and well-being. Moreover, it matters because of its economic size and budgetary implications. The health-care sector now employs 11 percent of American workers (Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS] 1980–2019b and authors’ calculations) and accounts for 24 percent of government spending (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS] 1987–2018; Bureau of Economic Analysis 1987–2018; authors’ calculations). Health insurance is the largest component (26 percent) of nonwage compensation (BLS 2019b) and health care is one of the largest categories of consumer spending (8.1 percent of consumer expenditures; BLS 2019a).
A well-functioning health-care sector is therefore a prerequisite for a well-functioning