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For many years, the health insurance that people received through their jobs was considered the gold standard, so much so that it came to be called “Cadillac coverage.” Just as Cadillac has lost its sheen, so has job-based health insurance coverage in many cases. This decline predated the COVID-19 pandemic, yet it has been, and will continue to be, hastened by it. The changes to job-based coverage have prompted people to ask: what’s next? This Article suggests that the lessons from the pandemic could offer an opportunity fundamentally to rethink the way to pay for healthcare in the United States, perhaps opening a window for reform. Meaningful reform should imagine a better overall financing system ten to twenty years from now, rather than just trying to plug the most egregious holes in the existing system. This long view might produce counterintuitive results, likely focusing on reforms that will, in part or in whole, reach people who already have health insurance, rather than taking a laser focus to address the needs of the uninsured. But doing so could eventually produce a simpler and more equitable structure.


health insurance, COVID-19, ESI, employer-sponsored health insurance, pandemic, job-based health insurance, public option

Publication Title

Depaul Law Review

Publication Citation

71 Depaul L. Rev. 331 (2022).