Why single payer is still our best bet

Bernard, Elaine
March 1994
Social Policy;Spring94, Vol. 24 Issue 3, p8
Academic Journal
This article addresses the debate over the proposed health-care reform in the U.S. and the effort of several groups to campaign for a universal, Canadian-type single-payer health-care system. In order to sell managed competition, advocates have promoted it as the only reform that has a realistic chance to control costs as coverage is extended to millions of uninsured U.S. individuals. The main difference between the Canadian and U.S. health-care systems comes down to how each pays for health-care insurance. In the U.S., patients pay their bills through a patchwork of varying levels of insurance coverage and a variety of additional out-of-pocket payments. In Canada, health care is paid by universal, comprehensive insurance coverage from a public insurance agency, which is financed by general tax revenues. The author believes that universal programs, such as a single payer-health-care system, are better able to assure quality for all by extending the service to socially powerful groupings. The poor and disadvantaged are included in the system with no social stigma of special programs attached to their rightful entitlement. According to the author, the health-care debate needs the single-payer campaign--that is the only plan under discussion that advocates a real universal health-care system.


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