Carnegie Mellon University

Yong H. Kim

Yong H. KimMajor: Economics
Minor: Decision Science
Adviser: Martin Gaynor

What Can the U.S. Learn From the Health Insurance Systems of the Netherlands and Switzerland?

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been a serious political issue since its enactment. Many citizens and insurance companies argue that the United States would be better off without the ACA due to potential financial loss. The health insurance exchanges on the ACA have suffered from problems of relatively low enrollment of young, healthy people, leading to large increases in health insurance premiums in some markets and resulting in the exit of some insurers.

The Netherlands and Switzerland also use private insurance markets to provide coverage, but by contrast, they have universal enrollment of individuals in health insurance and stability in their health insurance markets.

In my paper, I plan to ascertain what factors contribute to these differences, and how the U.S. might change the ACA in order to achieve greater enrollment and more market stability.


I have always been interested in providing services for those in need. For example, I enrolled in Constru Casa, an organization that recruits people to help construct houses for underprivileged families in Guatemala. I’ve also participated in programs that fought against poverty in Korea by helping the elderly without proper health services.

But as each project ended, I felt helpless and like my best efforts only provided temporary relief to a grave problem. Without a permanent solution, we are doing nothing more than chipping away at glacier.

While a part of me still asks me to jump into action so I can continue to help others, a larger part motivates my pursuit of permanent solutions. To be honest, I do not have a solid plan on how to change the world, but I humbly dream of making this world a better place for all one day, with better health services for all.