Since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or ObamaCare as a law, this health care reform system had received praises and criticisms from supporters and critics. Some say it has helped millions of Americans with the percentage of uninsured decreasing from 18% to 11.9% in the first quarter of 2015 while other politicians regard it as a “job-killer”. That being said, politicians are now talking about repealing ObamaCare and replacing it with a “Medicare for All” or what is known as the single payer system.
Other developed countries already have this kind of health care system and in fact, America already uses a single payer healthcare system in the form of Medicare. However, not all Americans are eligible to apply for one. The single payer system is said to be simpler and one that will provide health care to all, as a right and not a privilege. Let’s try to broaden our understanding of this healthcare system politicians are raving about.
What is a Single Payer System?
Basically, Single Payer System is a health care insurance system wherein only one agency created by the government will be the one to organize health care financing for all Americans regardless of how much they earn. It will replace the common practice of having multiple insurance players. Instead, there will only be one agency to do so and pay for medical services, including doctors, hospitals and medical costs, among others.
Does the coverage include alternative care?
Clinical trials play a lot in this aspect. Alternative care included in clinical trials and proven to work will be covered by the system. This includes antioxidant vitamins for patients suffering from macular degeneration as well as spinal treatment for a number of lower back medical problems.
What are some of its benefits?
Single payer offers coverage with no regard to income. It also removes having to shop for health insurance and the need for a lot of paper work. Medication costs will also be lowered. Moreover, patients need not have to pay hospital bills since the entity will be the one to pay. In a nutshell, it offers comprehensive medical benefits to everyone.
Where will the money for funding come from?
With a single payer system, there will be a health care payroll tax imposed that will be coming from the employer and employees. Also, employer expenses for health care of employees will be removed. As for health insurance premiums, co-pays and out-of-the-pocket costs, these will also be replaced by the payroll tax.
What are its benefits to doctors and hospitals?
It is true that the income of doctors will be affected but they will be able to attend to more patients and provide care with time reduction on administrative duties. Moreover, they clinical decisions can be made without having to consider the limitations and conditions set by health care insurance providers. On the side of hospitals, on the other hand, administrators will not have to worry for unpaid hospital bills and less administrative personnel will be needed for paperwork required to be sent to private insurance companies.
How can my business benefit from this?
With a single payment health insurance system, you, the business owner need not have to worry about paying for your employees’ health care. The single payer system will remove the burden from you and you just have to pay a percentage via the payroll heath care tax.
How will it affect people who work for insurance companies? Wouldn’t they lose their jobs?
Of course, the need for administrative personnel will be lessened but this should not really be a major concern since there will be a demand for more health care workers and a large number of insurance workers are already in this field like nurses and medical technologists. They can still fill the demand for more positions in hospitals. As for the other employees, they can be retrained and be included placement programs.
I am a business owner and I am considering keeping a private health care insurance. Is this allowed?
The answer to this question is both yes and no. Private health insurance companies are not permitted to include in their package what the universal health care system offers. In Canada, for example, inclusions such as private rooms are not included in the national plan. Businesses can get additional benefits from private insurance providers.
Why do you say drug costs will be reduced?
With single payer system, the entity or agency will be the one to buy drugs from pharmaceutical companies. With all the medication needs of patients being under the management of the entity, drug companies will have to deal with one agency. In return, the latter can demand for lower prices for drugs form the supplier.
Is it the same as socialized medicine?
In socialized medicine, doctors and hospitals get salaries from the government. This is different from national health insurance or single payer system wherein the agency organized by the government will pay for delivered care.
Will this be an additional cost to small business owners?
For companies with few employees and do not offer health care coverage to their workers, this can be an added tax and expenditure. However, given the expenses they may incur if their workers get into accidents while at work, payroll tax will be a big help. And for large companies that already offer health insurance for employees, a single payer system would mean savings.
Will this be a state or Federal system?
Under ObamaCare, states will be able to come up with their own approved health care system come 2017. By then, states can choose to use the single payer system just like Vermont, which dreamt of going to this direction years ago although opted for ObamaCare in the end. Maybe there will be a state single payer system in the beginning and will then be on a federal level in the future. Same with RomneyCare which started in the state of Massachusetts and was the driving force behind ObamaCare, a health care reform law that was implemented on a federal level.