Single-Payer Health Insurance is a system aimed at providing high-quality medical services for Americans so that all of them can get essential health care irrespective of their ability to pay. Though the Affordable Care Act introduced in 2010 made it easier for millions of people to collect medical insurance, there are still many American citizens who remain uninsured. That is why Single-Payer Health Insurance may be an efficient means to resolve this problem, and it is necessary to consider its main advantages.
Single-Payer Health Insurance is a mechanism that allows different entities, such as individuals, employers, the government, and others, to pay insurance premiums into a single fund that settles people’s health bills. The government is the main body that keeps these funds, but private organizations can control the pool as well. This system is partly represented in the United States through Medicare, which receives payments from senior citizens. The American government, in turn, contracts with different healthcare facilities across the country to meet payers’ medical requirements.
Single-Payer Health Insurance can be regarded as universal health coverage. According to Levitt (2018), though the Affordable Care Act managed to insure 20 million Americans, “29 million remain uninsured, with few prospects for making further meaningful progress anytime soon” (p. 1646). That is why it is essential to introduce a system that will be able to provide health insurance for as many people as possible. There is no denying that Single-Payer Health Insurance may become such a program and address this problem. Everyone is given an opportunity to visit the doctor when they feel ill or need treatment. Moreover, it does not matter if a person is rich or poor. In the Single-Payer Health Insurance system, proper healthcare is a right but not a privilege.
Creating a system where almost everyone can access quality healthcare leads to healthier populations. Duckett (2018) focuses on the success stories from Australia, which has adopted the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) that mirrors the concept of the Single-Payer Health Insurance system. According to the author, the Australian government is “a near monopsonistic purchaser for out-of-hospital pharmaceuticals” (Duckett, 2018, p. 347). It has used this position and its power through PBS to decrease the price of pharmaceuticals consistently with international benchmark pricing, which makes them more affordable for people. Furthermore, all Australian citizens have the right to receive the necessary treatment in public hospitals, which are owned by state governments, which also contributes to a healthier population.
Another advantage of Single-Payer Health Insurance to be mentioned is reduced health spending per capita. Galvani, Durham, Vermund, and Fitzpatrick (2017) discuss an example of California, where the single-payer health insurance system was implemented. The authors claim that this program is expected “to reduce health spending in the state by $37,5 billion annually, from the present $368,5 billion to $331,0 billion” (Galvani et al., 2017, p. 1). However, it is critical to provide some mechanisms, such as “efficient investment in preventive care, reduced administrative costs, and increased negotiating power,” so that Single-Payer Health Insurance can operate adequately (Galvani et al., 2017, p. 2). Such benefits could be replicated nationwide if the system is adopted across the country.
Single-Payer Health Insurance has been established in some countries and states (for example, in Australia and California) and proved its value and effectiveness. It has several considerable advantages, such as the opportunity to provide universal coverage, make people healthier, and reduce health costs. The pros of this system demonstrate that this idea has great potential and broad perspectives, but it must be effectively managed to work correctly.
Duckett, S. (2018). Expanding the breadth of Medicare: Learning from Australia. Health Economics, Policy, and Law, 13(4), 344-368.
Galvani, A. P., Durham, D. P., Vermund, S. H., & Fitzpatrick, M. C. (2017). California Universal Health Care Bill: An economic stimulus and life-saving proposal. Lancet, 390(10106), 1-6.
Levitt, L. (2018). Single-payer health care: Opportunities and vulnerabilities. JAMA, 319(16), 1646-1647.