(We are reprising several posts about Single Payer; Bernie Sanders’ current status as the sorta-front-runner in the Dem race has folks wondering what this is all about)
You’re going to hear a lot about Single Payer over the next few months – mostly from people who a) have an opinion about it BUT b) don’t even know what “Single Payer” is.
Before you get sucked into that discussion/argument, here’s a primer.
“Single Payer” – by definition – is government-financed and government-managed health insurance.
Beyond that, pretty much every country with Single Payer is unique, each with its own nuances. For example,
most don’t have government-employed healthcare providers; in many single payer systems, physicians, therapists, hospitals and other providers are private.
The UK is an exception; providers are (mostly) employed by the government
many are not government-operated; in many systems private insurers contract with the government to handle administration of health insurance – similar to our Medicare
Again the UK is an exception
the government sets pricing/reimbursement policy and actual prices – similar to our Medicare
funding comes from some combination of employee, employer, and other taxes; in some countries, insureds pay some form of premiums – similar to our Medicare
it covers everyone
there is little to no paperwork for patients/consumers; all that is handled by the administrative agency
there are minimal or no deductibles, copays, or co-insurance requirements
people can buy into supplemental insurance through private insurers
What does this mean for you?You are now more knowledgeable than most everyone else about Single Payer.