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List of Pros and Cons of Single Payer Health Care

A single payer health care system exists when one and only one entity provides health care coverage and pays for health care coverage. Single payer health care systems exist in Canada, Britain to some extent, and in other European countries and have proven to be successful there. The Affordable Care Act is not a single payer health care system. Medicaid is a single payer system but Medicare is not.

List of Pros of Single Payer Health Care

1. Everyone Can Get Coverage
The most frequently cited positive about a single payer health care system is that every person gets health care to the full extent that their health needs require. No person can be refused care due to any type of disease or to a previously existing ailment or condition.

2. Decrease Amount of Necessary Paperwork
Single payer health care systems reduce the amount of paper work that physicians, nurses, and hospital staff must deal with. This advantage allows health care professionals to devote more of their time to caring for sick and injured people.

3. Lower Costs
The costs of single payer health care systems are usually lower. The reasons for the lower costs are no competition, a not for profit structure, and a reduced number of administrative staff. The high salaries for administrators and sales people are eliminated in a single payer system.

4. No Insurance Companies Needed
No insurance companies are involved in a single payer system. This reduces the amount of paper work an individual has to deal with and reduces prices for health care due to the lack of competition. The single payer system also eliminates physicians from charging higher rates for tests using equipment that the physician has a financial interest in.

5. Only One Buyer Required
Medications cost less in a single payer system because there is only one buyer. The government is the buyer and since the purchase of drugs is in a huge bulk quantity the price for the medications is reduced.

List of Cons of Single Payer Health Care

1. Government Controlled
One of the disadvantages of a single payer system is that physicians, research universities, and medical equipment manufacturers become for all intents and purposes employees of the government.

2. Reduces Development
Some people argue that this practice reduces creativity. There is no financial incentive for people in research to develop new medicines or new treatment technologies in a single payer system because the government dictates the pay scale for all medical and research professionals.

3. Less Benefits
Single payer health care systems increase the size of government due to the need for personnel to administer the financial activities involved in paying for health care. The increase in staff is paid by all of the people in a country that work. Some see this practice as unfair to working people who end up paying extra taxes but receive no extra benefits from paying more taxes.

4. Contributing to Drug Abuse Problem
Single payer health care systems can promote abuse of the system as a form of welfare. Many instances have been reported of drug addicts receiving free medical care as well as the drugs that they have become addicted to. The practice is considered to be subsidized drug abuse by some.

5. Promotes Rising Demand for Welfare
Some argue that single payer health care systems promote a larger number of people that are welfare recipients. The contention is why work when you can live fairly well off of the efforts of others.