by Ed Martinez, June 1st, 2018
Based on national polling data (Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll), a slim majority of Americans now support Single-Payer Health care. Americans supporting the concept of single-payer health care believe that our existing health care system is irreparably broken —- primarily because our existing care system is (a) prohibitively expensive; (b) market-driven, rather than patient-centered; (c) primarily designed to generate financial gain for service providers; and (d) discriminatory in terms of how it excludes equitable participation by low-income individuals/families, individuals with pre-existing medical conditions, and people of color. For these reasons, I have closely examined the costs versus benefits of other care systems and have concluded that the vision and goals of the single-payer care system are compatible with the public’s vision for a national healthcare system—a care system that equitably provides the highest quality care in a cost-effective and culturally proficient manner.
KEY ELEMENTS OF SINGLE-PAYER CARE SYSTEM
Single-Payer National Health Insurance, also known as “Medicare for all” is a healthcare system financed by a public or quasi-public agency. This financing approach means that everyone receiving services from the single-payer healthcare system will be beneficiaries of the same insurance program and will be eligible to receive all medically necessary services through single-payer providers—including doctor, hospital, preventive, long-term care, mental health, reproductive healthcare, dental, vision, prescription drug, and medical supply costs——without copays or deductibles.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR SINGLE-PAYER HEALTHCARE:
There is little doubt that single-payer healthcare represents a “disruptive” force to our nation’s existing, market-based healthcare system. The use of the word “disruptive” in this summary narrative is very appropriate given that most of the key players/providers will experience significant financial impact in transitioning to a single-payer healthcare system. Such a transition will require strong political support from the American public. Given the disturbing trends of increasing healthcare costs, increasing premiums and copays, and cutbacks in available services, I anticipate the will of the American people to transition to single-payer coverage will soon be evident to state and national legislatures.