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


Let Consumers Control Drug Money

By Michael F. Cannon. USA Today. January 16, 2017.

How Most Doctors, Patients Will Benefit from ObamaCare Reform

By Michael D. Tanner. New York Post (Online). January 14, 2017.

The Pro-Worker Reforms That Could Fix Social Security and Health Care

By Michael D. Tanner. National Review (Online). November 16, 2016.

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.


Restarting Health Reform with Health Savings Accounts

Featuring Michael F. Cannon, John Goodman, and Peter Russo. September 14, 2016. Capitol Hill Briefing.

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.

Downsizing the Federal Government

2010 Healthcare Legislation

By Michael D. Tanner. September 2010.