Rights and Responsibilities in Health Care

Striking a Balance

Published in: JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association, v. 303, no. 22, Commentary, June 9, 2010, p. 2289-2290

Posted on RAND.org on June 09, 2010

by Robert H. Brook

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In many states, teenagers can apply for a driver's license when they are 16 years old. To obtain the license, they need to pass a written examination, perform adequately on a driving test, and demonstrate that they have insurance. But all drivers can do things to lose their license. For example, the law requires that drivers stop at red lights, even in the middle of the night when the street is empty. If drivers choose to ignore this law, they risk being ticketed; enough tickets will probably cost them the right to drive. These requirements are not arbitrary; they were developed to preserve life and reduce the cost of everyone's insurance. When young adults are 26 years old, they can no longer be covered under their parents' health insurance plan. However, they have other coverage options. If they work, and their employer offers insurance, they need only check a box.

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