One of the ideas that often emerges during discussions about healthcare coverage is the concept of single-payer healthcare, which is a national system for giving citizens health care that doesn’t involve private insurance companies. Although a government-based agency runs the overall system, delivery of care remains in the hands of private citizens like doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. There are several reasons single-payer care would create positive change in the healthcare industry.
1. Single-payer health care reduces overhead and administrative costs
One of the largest expenses in paying for health care via private insurers is the large amount of money wasted on non-healthcare related items. A health insurance company must deal with marketing and sales, as well as overhead, billing, and underwriting. Profits head to executive employees and stockholders, and those payments supersede any effort to provide affordable rates for patients. According to the Physicians for a National Health Program website, Americans pay more than 30 percent of health care payments to administrative costs. Eliminating wasteful spending on items like marketing and advertising would greatly reduce the cost of health care for the average American.
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2. All Americans get medically necessary health care with single-payer
A single-payer system means all citizens can obtain medically necessary procedures and services, as well as obtain preventative care at any time. From mental health treatment to prenatal care to prescription drugs, no one has to worry about not receiving treatment for an illness, disease, or routine checkup. Citizens would no longer face financial hardship or bankruptcy to receive care. The ability to visit the doctor without fear of being unable to pay would ensure no one held off going to the doctor for a check-up or important procedure because of a fear about the price of care.
3. Everyone pays the same amount for health care services
Today, prices for health care treatments and prescription drugs are decided upon by insurance companies, hospital conglomerates, and the pharmaceutical industry. Single-payer healthcare means the government sets prices for procedures and prescription drugs, as well as payments made to medical professionals like doctors, nurses, and others. A knee replacement operation in Kansas City would cost the same as a knee replacement operation in Los Angeles.
4. Health care facilities would have the equipment required to provide care
Medical equipment may reach into the millions of dollars, and hospitals with the largest budgets often have the best equipment. With expensive equipment comes high prices and a limited ability for some citizens to receive the best care using the most advanced equipment. Single-payer care ensures all health care facilities receive the medical equipment they need, as well as an adequate budget for operating expenses. Hospitals today must often rely on a combination of hefty fundraising to acquire equipment, as well as charging patients high fees to recoup costs related to equipment purchases. Equipment provided through the government would mean the hospital wouldn’t need to spend money on administrative personnel to raise funds.
5. Single-payer would not require large new taxes
One of the biggest arguments against single-payer coverage is that the system would require huge new taxes to cover everyone. In fact, the reduction in out-of-pocket costs and insurance premiums would completely offset new taxes. Citizens wouldn’t pay high insurance deductibles and premiums and would instead pay less overall for healthcare via the national health care system. Citizens would pay taxes for healthcare based on their personal ability to pay, and bankruptcies related to health care costs would virtually disappear.
Physicians, healthcare professionals, and politicians often agree that the system of healthcare in the United States needs improvement and is inefficient, but it’s rare that individuals on opposite sides of the spectrum can agree on the best method of delivery. The arguments for single-payer healthcare are actually in line with fiscally conservative ideals, which means it’s a healthcare option worthy of discussion for republicans and democrats.