Defining Single Payer

What is Single Payer?

A single-payer system finances health care for an entire population by using one public agency to collect all contributions and pay all bills. In the United States, or in an individual state, reasonable tax-supported financing through a single-payer agency would replace premiums, co-pays, deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses associated with health insurance plans. Comprehensive coverage identified by the single payer, including prevention and all medically necessary care, would be equal for all residents.

In a single-payer system, streamlined, cost-efficient administration saves money for either a state or country. These savings are used to achieve universal health care. A publicly accountable single-payer agency can:

  1. pool contributions from individuals, employers, and government;
  2. define comprehensive benefits that apply equally to everyone;
  3. negotiate prices of services, supplies and equipment, and prescription pharmaceuticals;
  4. foster quality of care; and
  5. efficiently pay all bills for defined benefits.

A single-payer system of financing health care can do for all of us what none of us can do alone. It can secure broad funding and keep costs in line so that everyone benefits from complete, affordable health care for life.