The single-payer model has some strong advantages. It is much simpler for most people — no more insurance forms or related hassles. Employers would no longer be mixed up in providing health-care benefits, and taxpayers would no longer subsidize that form of private compensation. Government experts could conduct research on treatments and use that information to directly cut costs across the system.But the government’s price tag would be astonishing. When Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) proposed a “Medicare for all” health plan in his presidential campaign, the nonpartisan Urban Institute figured that it would raise government spending by $32 trillion over 10 years, requiring a tax increase so huge that even the democratic socialist Mr. Sanders did not propose anything close to it.
The public piece of the American health-care system has not proven itself to be particularly cost-efficient.On a per capita basis, U.S. government health programs alone spend more than Canada, Australia, France, and Britain each do on their entire health systems.That means the U.S. government spends more per American to cover a slice of the population than other governments spend per citizen to cover all of theirs.Simply expanding Medicare to all would not automatically result in a radically more efficient health-care system. Something else would have to change.
Almost two of every three Californians in a new statewide poll said they like the idea of a single-payer, government healthcare system, but far fewer support the idea if it includes a tax increase.
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