What a Single Payer Health Care System Could Mean to You and Your Employees

Many of the contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination are making expanded health care access part of their campaign. With proposals ranging from eliminating private health insurance to expanding existing public programs, it’s clear that some form of single- payer health care will be a big part of the Democrats’ 2020 policy platform.

Single-payer health care is a general term used to describe a health care system that is run by the government and funded by taxes. There would be no copays, deductibles or insurance premiums. However, income and payroll taxes would increase. Also, there would be little to no private insurance, no employer-sponsored health care and probably no Affordable Care Act federal and state insurance exchanges.

In its current form, Medicare provides health insurance for Americans age 65 and older and for those with certain diseases or disabilities. The government determines the prices it pays doctors and hospitals. Those who are interested can enroll in private Medicare plans that offer additional benefits. Sen. Bernie Sanders, an Independent from Vermont who ran for president in 2016 and has announced his interest in running in 2020, introduced the “Medicare for All Act” bill in the Senate.

The bill was co-sponsored by 16 others, including other presidential nominee contenders: Democrats Kamala Harris of California, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Cory Booker of New Jersey, and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. A similar proposal introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Democratic Rep. John Conyers of Michigan has 117 co-sponsors.

The bill’s proposed health care system differs from traditional Medicare coverage in that all Americans would be covered for emergency surgery, prescription drugs, mental health care, and eye care without paying a copay. There would be no private health insurance because duplicate coverage would be forbidden.

To help pay the costs, employers would pay higher taxes instead of paying for private plans. Public Option. The public option is a compromise between a single-payer system and our current system, where only certain Americans qualify for government-run programs. Public option plans would allow middle-income, working- age adults to also pay for a public insurance plan instead of a private insurance plan.

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