"A substantial part of the inequality literature in the United States has focused on yearly levels and trends in income and its distribution over time. Recent findings in that literature show that median income appears to be stagnating with income growth primarily coming at higher income levels. But the value of health insurance is an important and growing source of economic well being for American households that is missed by focusing solely on income. ...Ignoring the value of health insurance coverage will substantially understate the level of economic well being of Americans and its upward trend and overstate the level of inequality and its upward trend." So says a new working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research.
The paper's title is "Measuring the Impact of Health Insurance on Levels and Trends in Inequality," and the authors are Richard Burkhauser and Kosali Simon, both of Cornell University.
Another way of looking at this is that while Arthur Sulzberger Jr. earned about 60 times what a New York Times reporter makes, Mr. Sulzberger's health insurance premiums don't cost 60 times what a New York Times reporters' health insurance premiums do. So including the value of the reporters' and the chairman's health insurance in an assessment of their income makes the inequality look smaller than it would if you focused on the income without including the value of the health insurance.