Single Payer: Complex Systems

The United States has an extremely complex healthcare system that’s comprised of conflicting ideologies. Private insurance, federally-funded Medicare, and state-funded Medicaid are all available for Americans. However, there are still 28 million people who do not have any kind of insurance (Carroll & Frakt, 2017). The positive thing that comes from this mix of systems is healthcare innovation that the entire globe benefits from. This costly innovation is not directed at technologies that are cost effective; rather it results in a confusing system that costs citizens trillion of dollars and produces poor quality healthcare.

Some politicians argue that single payer is what the United States needs to fix the current healthcare system. Single payer is not an ideology, it’s a policy choice. The ideology is universal coverage. Single payer is a policy that can, if setup correctly, provide universal coverage (Tomasky, 2017). Single payer should cover everybody, not everything. Private supplemental insurance can still be offered and compliment a single payer system. Lastly, taxes cannot be the only funding source for single payer systems (Flood & Rock, 2017). The success of a single payer system is highly dependent on its design, implementation, and how it meets the needs of the patients over time. Regardless of the ideology or policy, all citizens want is access to good, lifetime coverage.

High administrative costs are one of the reasons why the United States spends the greatest percentage of gross domestic product on healthcare and has the largest percent of uninsured (Flood & Rock, 2017; Frank, 2017). Advertising costs are almost nonexistent in single payer systems while it accounts for more than 15% of total expenses for private insurers. The most influential way that costs are reduced in a single payer system is the government negotiating terms with drug manufacturers and healthcare providers. Having one payer simplifies all points in the healthcare lifecycle. With one claim processor, one payer, and one administrator, unnecessary costs are greatly reduced and funds can be driven to cost-efficient innovation.


Carroll, A., & Frakt, A. (2017). The Best Health Care System in the World: Which One Would You Pick? Retrieved 11 November 2017, from

Flood, C., & Rock, A. (2017). Five lessons from Canada on single-payer health Retrieved 11 November 2017, from

Frank, R. (2017). Why Single-Payer Health Care Saves Retrieved 11 November 2017, from

Tomasky, M. (2017). Opinion: Single Payer or Bust? Retrieved 11 November 2017, from