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May 21, 2007

Advantages of single-payer plans

America's health care system is broken. While attempts at reforming it have stalled due to the ideological differences between the two major political parties, the number of Americans without health insurance has risen steadily to the point where we now have 47 million people, approximately one-sixth of the population, uninsured.

Several states have begun to propose various plans to increase the number of people covered by insurance. The most recent of these proposals have come from Massachusetts and California. While developing a patchwork of coverage across every state might have a certain appeal for proponents of states' rights, access to at least a minimum level of health care ought to be a right of every citizen of the richest country in the world, and it is a problem that ought to be tackled at the federal level.

Under the current system, the United States spends the equivalent of $6,280 for every American each year on health care -- twice the average spent by other OECD countries. In spite of that, it is the only rich country that does not guarantee universal health coverage.

One plan that proposes to provide universal coverage is the Single Payer National Health Insurance plan. This is a system where a single public or quasi-public entity is responsible for health financing while delivery of services remains private. While the primary benefit of this plan is that it provides for universal coverage, there are several other ancillary benefits.

Since the main purpose of such a plan is delivering needed health care, it tends to be more about the patient and less about maximizing profits for the insurance companies. So individuals would have the ability to go to the doctor or hospital of their choice.

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Posted by healthinsurance at May 21, 2007 02:56 PM