The US should adopt a Single Payer Health Care System (AKA Medicare for All)


“Medicare for All is a proposed single-payer plan that would restrict or abolish private insurance and expand Medicare benefits to most of the population.”

Popularized by Presidential candidate and US Senator Bernie Sanders, the system has the US government pay for all health care an individual American consumes, though the government would not run the health care system. Instead they would simply pay private actors (doctors, hospitals, etc) to provide it.

Lefkowitz, 2022, Ken Lefkowitz is a former consultant and Senior Director for major corporations, including AstraZeneca and PECO Energy. Lefkowitz, Ken. Medicare for All (p. i). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.  Medicare for All: An Economic Rationale

Outline of Medicare For All Before we begin the exploration of our current system’s flaws and shortcomings, it is important to outline the definition of Medicare For All so the reader can gain an understanding of the program’s essentials and parameters. Two Medicare For All bills have been introduced in Congress, one originally in the House by Representative Jayapal, HR 1384 in March 2019, and another in the Senate, S1129, by Senator Sanders in April 2019, who humorously said in a discussion about Medicare For All elements during the Democratic Presidential debates, “I wrote the damn bill.” Quite similar in content, both bills present the key elements of a Medicare For All program, defining it as a single-payer universal healthcare coverage plan. Here are their key elements: Every resident receives a healthcare coverage card; Comprehensive coverage is provided for doctor, hospital, dental, vision, mental health, medical supplies, pharmaceuticals, and long-term care; There are no deductibles or copays; Private duplicate coverage is banned; The plans are exempt from the Hyde Amendment that bans government spending on women’s right to choose. Under each plan, doctors, hospitals, and other medical providers remain independent and operate freely. Patients are free to choose any doctor or hospital since the delivery of care continues to remain in private hands. Continued free choice of each person to select their own doctors and hospitals is assured. Neither plan is a government takeover of healthcare. Only funding and coverage are addressed. Lefkowitz, Ken. Medicare for All (p. 3). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

Single Payer Health Care

Single Payer Health Care vs. Universal Coverage

Debate sharpens over single payer system, but what is it?

Pro Arguments

*People die from a lack of health care
*Racial and gender inequality in the current provision of care
*Providing basic health care important to human dignity
*A strong public health system is needed to respond to disease outbreaks
*A strong public health system is needed to respond to the health harms of a bioterror attack
*Leaving health care to the private sector triages people based on economics
*The current health care system massive raises health care costs (mostly due to private sector administrative costs)
*The current health care system leads to individual bankruptcies
*The current health care system hurts US economic competitiveness by shifting the costs of providing health care to the employer
*The current health care system locks people into their current jobs and undermines innovation (because health care is currently provided by employers0
*Immoral to leave health care to the private sector
*Providing health care to all strengthens the capacity of the entire society
*Providing health care to all strengthens US international influence (soft power)
*Single payer will save rural health care/hospitals
*Public support for single payer

Con Arguments

*It’s way to expensive (costs trillions)
*Increases wait times and delays care
*Results in rationing of limited care
*Results in massive privacy violations as a result of government data collection
*Violates principals of libertarianism (the idea that you should not forcibly take money from someone and give it to someone else)
*If a single payer is adopted the government will try to control costs by limiting reimbursement for drugs, which will hurt innovation in the pharmaceutical industry
*Single payer results in massive unemployment in the insurance industry
*Public opposition to single payer
*Alternatives are better
(a) Expand Obamacare
(b) Increase cross-state competition

Additional Resources

Full bibliography and 1,000 pages of evidence

Daily Update (Updated through 9-27-22)