As background, let's take a look at Single Payer Health Insurance as described by the Physicians for A National Health Program:
Single-payer national health insurance, also known as “Medicare for all,” is a system in which a single public or quasi-public agency organizes health care financing, but the delivery of care remains largely in private hands. Under a single-payer system, all residents of the U.S. would be covered for all medically necessary services, including doctor, hospital, preventive, long-term care, mental health, reproductive health care, dental, vision, prescription drug and medical supply costs.
The program would be funded by the savings obtained from replacing today’s inefficient, profit-oriented, multiple insurance payers with a single streamlined, nonprofit, public payer, and by modest new taxes based on ability to pay. Premiums would disappear; 95 percent of all households would save money. 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 would regain autonomy over patient care.
Consider all those issues we are now arguing about:
- Existing conditions? It doesn't matter.
- Children on their parents' coverage? It doesn't matter.
- High deductibles? No deductibles.
- High premiums? No premiums.
- Complex tax break or subsidy schemes? Gone.
- Multiple convoluted insurance policies offering disparate benefits? Gone.
- The last say on what treatment is appropriate for you? Your doctor.
This is not to say health care is free. We will all pay for it through income deductions, but we won't be paying for complex insurance company overhead. Insurance companies are a value minus for every health care dollar we spend. The are middlemen profiting off a basic human need. To keep their business interest entrenched, in 2016 they spent over $146 million in lobbying expenses. That all comes from your policy costs. Your pocket.
Internationally, the per-capita health care spending is more than twice the the average of other developed nations--and not all US citizens have access to heath care! The US spends more than 50% more than average as a percentage of GDP. For all this cost, in 2000 the WHO ranks the US 31st in health care performance. Of 11 industrialized in 2013, The US was dead last in overall ranking.
Every country that outperforms us has one thing in common: A flavor of a nationalized single-payer health care system.
For these countries, every Eurodollar, Yen, or Ringgit they don't spend on necessary health care they spend on other things, invigorating their economies. Reduced costs can also show up in the cost of exported goods, creating competitiveness in the world marketplace. And of course every citizen in those countries don't have to worry about what is going to happen if they get sick, no matter who they are comforted knowing they will get care.
So c'mon, Republican Congresspeople. Admit that you were right, that our profit-based health care system is not working. But let's not talk about the cost of heath insurance, but the availability of health care. The world has shown us that not only can our care be better, but less expensive to boot. I imagine you might even find some support from the left.