A Single-Payer System Would Reduce U.S. Health Care Costs

By Ed Weisbart, MD, CPE
American Medical Association Journal of Ethics, Virtual Mentor, November 2012

Today’s fragmented system is akin to requiring each household in a community to anticipate their needs for the coming year and negotiate their own fees and scope of services with the local police and fire departments. Imagine instead how much of their budgets these life-saving community services would be obliged to devote to marketing to and negotiating with each household and the rampant disparities in service that would result. That is precisely what is happening today in health care, and it is absurdly wasteful. For police and fire departments, we have recognized that it is significantly less wasteful to give all citizens the same “coverage” for set prices and to administer it with regional coordination. Global budgeting is the only sensible strategy for such unpredictable yet universally needed services.


The ACA has begun the process of much needed change. Now we need to go further in reforming health care finance to enable all Americans to achieve their fundamental human right to comprehensive coverage. The rest of the modern world has run the laboratory studies for us; now is the time for us to adopt this well proven solution.


Health care financing is a fundamental ethical issue, thus it is very appropriate that Ed Weisbart’s article on single payer be published in the AMA’s journal of ethics. Hopefully, the brief excerpt above will entice you to click on the link to read the entire article, and then share it with others to spread the word on the imperative of the single payer model – an improved Medicare for everyone.