WHY SINGLE PAYER NOW?
Because it's about time!
The Case for Single Payer
Single payer national health insurance is a system in which a single publicly accountable agency organizes health financing, while a mixture of public and private entities delivers care as we have today.
Currently, the U.S. health care system is outrageously expensive, yet inadequate. Despite spending more than twice as much as the rest of the industrialized nations ($10,348 per capita), the United States performs poorly in comparison on major health indicators such as life expectancy, infant mortality and immunization rates. Moreover, the other advanced nations provide comprehensive coverage to their entire populations, while the U.S. leaves 28.6 million completely uninsured and over 40 million inadequately covered.
The reason we spend more and get less than the rest of the world is because we have a patchwork system of for-profit payers. Private insurers necessarily waste health dollars on things that have nothing to do with care: overhead, underwriting, billing, sales and marketing departments as well as huge profits and exorbitant executive pay. Doctors and hospitals must maintain costly administrative staffs to deal with the bureaucracy. As a result, administrative waste consumes at a minimum 15% of Americans’ health dollars.
Single payer financing is the only way to recapture this wasted money. The potential savings on paperwork, more than $400 billion per year, are enough to provide comprehensive coverage to everyone without paying any more than we already do.
Under a single payer system, all Americans would be covered for all medically necessary services, including: doctor, hospital, preventive, mental health, reproductive health care, dental, vision, prescription drug and medical supply costs. Patients would no longer face financial barriers to care such as co-pays and deductibles, and would regain free choice of doctor and hospital. Doctors and patients would regain autonomy over patient care.
Physicians would be paid fee-for-service according to a negotiated formulary or receive salary from a hospital or nonprofit HMO / group practice. Hospitals would receive a global budget for operating expenses. Health facilities and expensive equipment purchases would be managed by regional health planning boards.
Eliminating private insurers and recapturing administrative waste would finance a single payer system. Modest new taxes, based on ability to pay, would replace premiums and out-of-pocket payments currently paid by individuals and business. Costs would be controlled through negotiated fees, global budgeting and bulk purchasing.