Single Payer

On a previous post from November 2019, I talked about the American Healthcare system. I wrote,

In a publication by the World Health Organization (WHO), the United States ranked #37 overall for healthcare systems in the world. Countries like Colombia, Morocco, Chile, and Costa Rica ranked above the US (Measuring Overall Health System Performance for 191 Countries, WHO). #37 doesn’t sound so bad, right? Considering there were 191 countries ranked, I suppose it doesn’t – if we’re going to look at this from the lens of competition. The ranking itself is a fun and interesting fact, but you know what makes it fascinating? The United States spends the most money in the world out of any country in its healthcare “system”. The US spends 17.8% of its GDP  in healthcare – that’s about $3.5 trillion (Health Care Spending in the United States and Other High-Income Countries, The Commonwealth Fund).  High expenditure for sub-par health outcomes doesn’t quite make sense, does it? What happens when we place value on profits over people?

On multiple occasions in this blog, I’ve mentioned my support of a single payer system for healthcare in the United States. Recently, I came across this confession from the former Vice President at Cigna, Wendell Porter:

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If you are an employed American that receives insurance benefits through your employer, I invite you to look at your pay stub. You probably pay taxes into the Medicare system (even if you don’t use it) as well as paying as a fee to your chosen employee provided insurance. What if instead of paying into multiple payers, you paid into a single payer (% based on income) for an entire nation to be covered? Some may call it “healthcare tax”, but here’s the deal: you’re already pouring your tax and personal dollars into a very ineffective healthcare system.

What is a SINGLE payer system? In the United States we have multiple payers when it comes to the funding of our healthcare system: Medicare, Medicaid, the VA system, TRICARE (military health insurance), private insurance via your employer, private insurance out of pocket, and uninsured (aka you pay for everything out of pocket). A single payer system would combine all of the payers I listed in the previous sentence into ONE payer. So instead of of going to the doctor or the emergency department and stating, “I have xyz insurance”, everyone in the United States would have the SAME ONE. The building of a single-payer system for healthcare in the United States can be designed to fit its population. Every wealthy country in the world outside of the United States, uses a single payer system – they are just structured differently from country to country. For example, in England, you have a system that is publicly funded and publicly delivered. In contrast, the Canadian system is publicly funded, but privately delivered. Although the delivery of care is structured in a different way (fiscally) in both Canada and England, at the end of the day they are both SINGLE payer systems (publicly funded).

Additional notes: Refer to medical debt and bankruptcies declared due to medical debt in the United States.

And just to clarify, I’m personally healthy. I don’t have any chronic illnesses. I don’t have medical debt. However, if I were to experience a catastrophic medical experience (breaking of bones, weapon inflicted injury, unexpected allergic reaction, etc.), I’d be expecting to pay a good chunk of money out of pocket although I have REALLY GOOD “health insurance”.

Image may contain: 1 person, text that says 'senbonzakura @erictile_ The reason why America isn't recovering from COVID-19 as quickly as other countries is because we are a country that values individualism over collectivism. Nobody here wants to do anything that is a minor inconvenience to them in order to protect their neighbors.'

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