How Can Single Payer Improve Health Care?

Because of its many features—streamlined administration, price negotiation, large risk pool, public accountability, involvement of health professionals in planning and administration, and comprehensive benefits with an emphasis on prevention—a typical single-payer system expands the range of care and extends benefits to all. High quality is built in by the use of evidence-based best practices that are shared system-wide. With a single-payer system, individuals receive:

  1. Comprehensive benefits. In addition to the benefits one would expect of a well-rounded health care program—routine well and sick doctor visits; ambulance, surgery and hospitalization; diagnostic testing and lab services; prescribed pharmaceuticals; and medical supplies and appliances—a strong single-payer system includes ongoing mental health services, substance abuse treatment, and dental and vision services.
  2. Appropriate care.  Good communication among health care professionals and sharing of best practices can occur more easily in coordinated systems. Outcomes and technology use can be compared from one region to another or one facility to another. If outcomes are similar but costs are different—or vice versa—then comparison studies can be done, and the results easily shared. Budgeting according to regional needs, ongoing evaluation, and public input, help make the appropriate services and equipment available.  When individuals receive appropriate care, including education on use of monitoring devices and management of conditions, health improves.