May 19, 2019
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Five Challenges to Implementing Single-Payer Healthcare in America

5 Obstacles To Passing Single-Payer Healthcare In America

  • Legislative
  • Public Support
  • Healthcare Industry Support
  • Cost
  • The Fate Of Employer-Provided Plans

While desired by a substantial amount of the populace, there are significant challenges to implementing single-payer healthcare in America. Single-payer is defined as a system where all financing for healthcare is paid for by a government organization funded by taxpayer dollars. It is also known as “Medicare for all.” What follows are some of the challenges proponents of a single-payer system must address.

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1. Legislative

It’s no secret that there is strong opposition to a single-payer healthcare system in both state governments and Congress from both Republicans and moderate Democrats. More members of Congress and state legislatures are beginning to support the implementation of a single-payer system, but strong enough support to get a law passed is still a long way away. It is difficult for states to create their own single-payer systems due to the sheer cost of the program, meaning it will likely need to be a nationally-implemented law. This will require elected officials to get on board with it and for their constituents to lobby support for such legislation.

2. Public Support

Most Americans agree that the healthcare system needs serious reform. The problem is that no one can agree on the best way to fix it. There are many details to be ironed out, including what form an American single-payer system will take. There is concern about having healthcare workers be government employees, and how that could stifle innovation, increase wait times for procedures and reduce the quality of care. Garnering public support for a single-payer system will require proponents to draft a plan and educate the public about what the law will actually do to help the American people.

3. Healthcare Industry Support

Implementing a single-payer system in America would be earthshattering to the pre-existing healthcare industry. Many will gain jobs, but others will be put out of work, especially at major health insurance companies. There will need to be government aid in place for anyone who loses their livelihood because of health reform. Proponents of this legislation and legislators alike will need to consult the healthcare industry to determine the way medical professionals would want a single-payer system to function. Professional input will make any system more likely to succeed.

4. Cost

Proponents of single-payer healthcare need to be honest and upfront about how much a single-payer system will cost. This is true for both government spending as well as tax increases that will be necessary to fund the program. According to Politifact, however, the amount a single-payer healthcare system would cost the United States would be anywhere between what it is currently spending now on healthcare to double that amount at the high estimates. The ultimate cost will be determined by how generous coverage is and how cost-effective the program will ultimately be.

5. The Fate Of Employer-Provided Plans

A significant challenge in implementing single-payer healthcare is going to be the question of what should be done about private insurance plans. Many employers will be thrilled, because it will be an expense they no longer have to pay their workers. However, most Americans are on health insurance plans through their work and like the insurance they already have. Depending on the plan that is drafted, private plans will either go away entirely or simply become another option for coverage.

A single-payer healthcare system is a serious potential option for fixing the issues with America’s current healthcare system. There are numerous challenges to implementing single-payer healthcare in America that proponents need to address if this policy is to become law.