Cato Institute scholars first proposed health savings accounts in the 1980s and were leaders in popularizing them among the public and policymakers. Although health savings accounts do not eliminate the price distortions that follow from the differential tax treatment of employer-provided health benefits, they greatly reduce the incentives for third-party payment.

By habituating Americans to controlling their own health care, health savings accounts can mitigate the fear and dislocation that would result from going directly from the current system to one in which third-party payment receives no government encouragement.

More on Health Savings Accounts


Obamacare Gets Worse for Workers

By Michael D. Tanner. National Review (Online). July 17, 2013.

Daniels and Obamacare, Round Two

By Michael F. Cannon. National Review (Online). March 14, 2011.

The Same Rotten Rx

By Michael D. Tanner. New York Post. March 4, 2010.

Cato Studies

Health Savings Accounts: Do the Critics Have a Point?

By Michael F. Cannon. Policy Analysis No. 569. May 30, 2006.

Combining Tax Reform and Health Care Reform with Large HSAs

By Michael F. Cannon. Tax and Budget Bulletin No. 23. May 1, 2005.

Medical Savings Accounts: Progress and Problems under HIPAA

By Victoria Craig Bunce. Policy Analysis No. 411. August 8, 2001.


Large Health Savings Accounts: A Step toward Tax Neutrality for Health Care

Michael F. Cannon. Forum for Health Economics & Policy. Vol. 11. No. 2. 2007.


Will Cost Containment Derail Health Care Reform?

Featuring Arnold Kling. June 2, 2009. Capitol Hill Briefing.

Why Markets Are the Key to Quality, Coordinated Medical Care

Featuring Arnold Kling. February 20, 2009. Capitol Hill Briefing.

Health Care University

Featuring Michael F. Cannon, Michael D. Tanner, Peter Van Doren, & Arnold Kling. December 10, 2007. Capitol Hill Briefing.

Downsizing the Federal Government

2010 Healthcare Legislation

By Michael D. Tanner. September 2010.