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Abstract

Health care expenditures have accounted for increasing proportions of the U.S. gross domestic product, and the rate of growth of health care expenditures has increased over the past two decades. These two measures of assessing whether the level of health care expenditures is affordable may be appropriate in the aggregate for the United States but are not appropriate to assess whether individual stakeholder groups can afford their particular level of spending on health care. Health care is an economic good that differs from other economic goods, as it involves life and death issues, and invokes a call for a moral authority. This article explores definitions of what is affordable health care from the perspective of different stakeholders and suggests that other measures are needed to assess whether or not health care is affordable for stakeholders as one definition is not appropriate for all stakeholders.