Dems Say Single-Payer Good Option for Health Care Replacement

WDET/Laura Herberg

President Trump has vowed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, with a system he says would cover everyone in the U.S.

But Congressional Republicans continue debating just what that system would look like.

Dawn Uhl-Zifilippo/WDET

One idea that has long been pushed by Democrats including U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) is a so-called “single-payer” health system operated by the government.

Groups like Physicians for a National Health Program, which claims 20,000 members, say a single-payer system would increase taxes for consumers.

But they say it would not increase the overall cost of their insurance.

The co-founder of the group, Dr. David Himmelstein, says a single-payer system would be more cost-effective than other options. 

He said, “You save more than $500 billion each year just on the insurance company bureaucracy and the paperwork they inflict on doctors and hospitals and nursing homes. More in taxes (but) much less in premiums. The average American would be paying no more than they currently do. But they would be getting much more.”

Critics counter that a single-payer system would limit a patient’s choice of doctors and create long wait times for those seeking treatment.

Many opponents of a single-payer system point to problems they claim regularly bedevil residents in Canada, which uses a health care system funded by the public.

But single-payer advocates like Himmelstein call that an unfair comparison.

He said, “We spend about twice per person what Canada does (on health care). And for that spending we really ought to have a ‘Canada Deluxe’ system. We ought to be able to have a system that’s far better than Canada and certainly far, far better than ours.”

Himmelstein goes even further, telling WDET’s Quinn Klinefelter that he believes a single-payer health care system would have distinct advantages over Obamacare.

Click on the audio player above to hear the full interview.

Image credit: WDET/Laura Herberg

About the Author

Quinn Klinefelter

Senior News Editor

I grab news in the morning, check the papers and the wires, call sources and take a big gulp of coffee. That’s how I start the day.  

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