Advocates of pure single-payer health care proposals for the United States are in a stronger position than ever, and those proposals would create a system much different from Medicare Advantage for all.
Sally Pipes. president of the Pacific Research Institute, has delivered those messages in her new book, “The False Promise of Single-Payer Health Care.” Pipes wrote the book to explain why she believes that the single-payer health care movement is still a contender, and why she believes that shifting to a single-payer health care system would be a disaster.
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The Pacific Research Institute is a San Francisco-based think tank that aims to promote the principles of individual freedom and personal responsibility. Pipes has been an advocate of using tools such as health savings accounts and fixed per-person subsidies, or vouchers, to make the U.S. health finance system work better.
In recent years, Pipes has backed the idea of replacing the current income-based Affordable Care Act premium tax credit subsidy with an age-based subsidy.
Pipes, an economist who grew up in British Columbia, cites the shortages and inefficiencies in British Columbia’s single-payer health care system as a taste of what could happen if the United States moved along a similar path.
Pipes is now giving interviews to support the launch of the new book.
Here are five things she said in a recent interview with ThinkAdvisor Life/Health.
1. The single-payer movement matters.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who caucuses with the Democrats, has been introducing single-payer health care bills for years. He introduced the latest version, S. 1804, the Medicare for All Act of 2017 bill, in September.
Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., recently replaced former Rep. John Conyers Jr. as the sponsor of H.R. 676, the Expanded & Improved Medicare for All Act bill.
Voters in Colorado got a chance to vote on a pure single-payer health care in November 2016: They defeated it by a vote of 20% to 80%, even as they voted in favor of Hillary Clinton for president.
Support for other single-payer health care proposals is continuing to grow, in spite of the Colorado ballot measure vote, Pipes said.
Democratic candidates in California are competing to show that they are more enthusiastic than the others about that state’s $400 billion single-payer health care plan, Pipes said.
Single-payer health care proposals will also come up as a major election issue in many other states this year, Pipes said.
“You’ve got a lot of states that are really looking at it,” she said. “it’s definitely a growing movement.”
2. ‘Single-payer health care’ is not the same as Medicare Advantage for all, or traditional Medicare for all plus Medicare supplement insurance for many.
Many health insurers like the Medicare Advantage plan market.
In that market, the government provides a subsidy for all and runs a bidding process for would-be issuers. Private companies get to sell the coverage, and earn solid profits. Agents can earn modest commissions from selling the coverage.