These questions are designed to elicit broad integrative critical thinking and the application of policy and economics course concepts, principles and material. Thus, be sure to use policy and economics concepts, principles, and material from course in answering the following essay questions. For each essay, there is not one single ‘correct answer’; instead, various answers are possible depending on how well they are argued and supported. So have fun expressing your own points of view, but support your views with course material. Take some time to think first, organize your thoughts second, and write third.

Essay 1 (15 points)

The U.S. government subsidizes the private provision of health insurance through employers. Benefits paid to employees are deductible as expenses by firms. Why then do most small employers in the US not offer health insurance benefits to their employees? Why private insurers, often not willing to sell insurance contracts to small employer groups before the enactment of PPACA, may be more inclined to offer an “essential benefits package” at affordable rates through such exchanges in the near future?

Essay 2 (15 points)

Why does the ACA allow for a significant variety in the types of “qualified” plans that can be offered by health insurance exchanges? Wouldn’t it be less expensive for the states (in terms of administrative costs) to offer just one standard plan of essential benefits to everyone?

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