A hot topic for discussion right now in the healthcare industry is single-payer healthcare. As the debate over healthcare reform in the U.S. continues, some are proposing a single-payer healthcare system. This would mean that everyone’s medical bills are paid from the same pool of money. This pool of money is typically overseen by the government, so the system would operate similarly to Medicaid. There are many different opinions on whether single-payer healthcare is good or bad. For instance, some nurse advocacy groups are pushing hard for single-payer healthcare, while many physicians across the country are speaking out against it. California also has a bill that aims to implement a single payer healthcare system there, and nurses are leading the charge in trying to get the bill passed. If you’re seeing and hearing about a single payer system in the news but haven’t had time to do your own research, here is single payer healthcare explained from the perspective of those who support it and those who are against it.
Support for Single Payer Healthcare Explained
Those who support single payer healthcare explain that they support it because it means coverage for everyone, reduced healthcare costs, and the fact that it gives people the ability to still purchase private plans.
Coverage for Everyone
Since a single payer system would operate similarly to Medicaid, everyone would have access to coverage regardless of their ability to pay for it. It essentially makes healthcare a right for everyone, instead of it being treated or viewed as a privilege.
Costs are Reduced
Other countries, such as Canada, are operating with single payer healthcare systems. They have seen healthcare costs decline. For example, Canada is spending $2,233 less per person than the United States is, and Canada’s population has a higher life expectancy rate and lower infant mortality rates.
Private Plan Possibilities
Although the government will operate a large pool of health insurance that ensures everyone has access to basic coverage benefits, citizens will still have the option of purchasing private plans in order to improve or increase what benefits their insurance covers. This, then, still allows for some kind of private health insurance market.
Objections to Single Payer Healthcare Explained
Those who object to single payer healthcare explain that it will create longer wait times to see a doctor, raise taxes, and increase the government’s power over the people.
Longer Wait Times
Since more people will have health insurance and the ability to see a doctor, there will be longer wait times. This could strain hospitals and specialty practices as they adjust to new patient volumes and are short staffed. This, in turn, could lower the quality of care patients receive.
Increase in Taxes
Let’s face it. The pool of money that would be used to provide health insurance to everyone has to come from somewhere. It will most likely mean a hefty increase in taxes for everyone across the board.
Less Power to the People
Since the government will oversee a single payer healthcare system, that means it will hire more people to maintain it. Therefore, there will be more government spending. Those against a single payer healthcare system explained that they don’t like the idea of an even bigger government than we already have.
The Impact on Nurses: Single Payer Healthcare Explained
The concern for nurses is that a single payer healthcare system would limit the amount of money that providers can get paid for services, so competition will increase and resources could get cut. For example, doctors and nurses will be battling for pay from the same pool of money. This could be a good or a bad thing. On one side, it could mean that some, like nurse practitioners, see more opportunity because they can perform similar tasks as a physician for less money. Yet, it could also cause smaller physician groups to have fewer nurses on staff. Of course, keep in mind that’s just one point of view, so only time will tell.
What are your thoughts on a single payer system now that you’ve had single payer healthcare explained? Do you think it would be good or bad for the healthcare industry in the U.S., and for travel nurses in particular?