Myth Busting Sanders’s Single-Payer Plan

University of Massachusetts economics professor Gerald Friedman addresses the misinformation being perpetuated by establishment media about Bernie Sanders’s single payer proposal.

Let us know what you think!


  1. Rebecca Elgie on March 15, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    This is important information to get out to the general public – thank you Healthcare-Now for setting the record straight. Too many people are suffering under our current system. We need to get rid of private insurance companies!

    • Sally-Alice Thompson on March 15, 2016 at 3:48 pm

      We didn’t keep the buggy whip makers or Kodak when they became redundant’ Why support the parasitic health insurance companies?

      • Stephanie on March 16, 2016 at 12:30 pm

        Good point Sally-Alice.

      • Malcolm MacLeod, MD on March 17, 2016 at 2:48 am

        I am a long retired general pediatrician from northern California, and I have long been beating
        the drum for Medicare for All Single Payer. This is the only system that will solve this problem.
        Anything else is just putting off the inevitable, with lots of suffering in between.

    • Stephanie on March 16, 2016 at 12:29 pm

      Thank you Rebecca!

    • Lou Sebesta on March 17, 2016 at 5:51 pm

      Bernie’s right. Hillary and all the Republicans are dead wrong. The only way to have decent affordable health care in the US is to go single payer Medicare for all. We pay too much and get too little as citizens hoping for real health care. All we pay for is insurance company admin. and advertising exorbitant overhead and obscene drug costs with nothing to show for it except preposterous insurance rates. Get honest for once – if you’re on the take from insurance co. campaign donations or listening to anyone who is connected with them you have ZERO credibility! I repeat, ZERO!

    • Jerry Kann on March 17, 2016 at 8:00 pm

      This is excellent! Thank you for producing it.

      But with all due respect to Sanders, I have to ask: Where was he 16 years ago, when Ralph Nader and the Greens were popularizing Single Payer during the campaign of 2000?

      Jerry Kann

  2. Tom O'Brien on March 15, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    I’m an American who lived in Canada for 16 years. I raised 3 kids there. I had a heart procedure there. The waits and the quality of care was about the same as it was under Kaiser Permanente in California. But there was a big difference: I NEVER got a bill. I showed them my Ontario Health Insurance Program card and that was it. Period. No wrangling with insurers as does Highmark Blue Cross now.
    No one questions the logic generally of banning together to negotiate to get a better price and better service. So why quesiton this? If we negotiate and buy as a nation, you bet we will get a better price and better service. Meanwhile we will eliminate the middle guys who make money by denying claims.

    We may not get Medicare for All America right away, but it’s a fight worth having — Go Bernie!

    • Stephanie on March 16, 2016 at 12:31 pm

      I love hearing the experiences of fellow single-payer activists who have lived abroad. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Bernie Fetterly on March 15, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    Hillary Clinton says how are you going to pay for Single Payer health care. Hillary knows better but used this for political reasons. The proof that single payer Will save money is that all developed countries have a single payer system and they spend half on health care then we do. The truth is, if the United States changed to a single payer system we would save around $500 Billion. Hillary should be questioned more on this one.

    • Stephanie on March 16, 2016 at 12:33 pm

      It’s true – all the candidates (and especially the ones who say single payer will “never, ever happen!”) should be pressured by their base to speak the truth and stand up for single payer.

  4. Dave Hart on March 15, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    Many conservative voters are reluctant to support a wholesale change to Medicare for all because, I believe, they worry about whether their Medicare Advantage plan would be reduced or eliminated. Healthcare NOW should address Sanders’ plan and the effect it would have on the change to Part C for the millions who enjoy this added level of coverage.

    • Robert on March 15, 2016 at 5:44 pm

      My guess is that people wouldn’t even NEED an ADDITIONAL ‘plan’ to supplement current coverage! If its going to be all inclusive, there will be no need for additional plans to supplement what “isn’t covered” since EVERYTHING will be covered. We will need to get beyond the mindset of limit and lack and NEED for ADDITIONAL “coverage” that we’ve become so accustomed to. It will be a PARADIGM SHIFT! Hooray, welcome to the rest of the civilized world!!!

      • Stephanie on March 16, 2016 at 12:46 pm

        Hi Dave and Robert,

        Yes, what Robert is saying is correct – coverage will be much better than what is currently provided by any Medicare Advantage plan.

        There would be no deductibles, co-insurance, or co-payments, except for some prescription drugs, and benefits would include everything from primary care to long-term and palliative care. There would be no limited networks – choose any doctor or hospital.

        Check out our Single Payer Guide to the Elections for more:

  5. Virginia Ryan on March 15, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    This is great and I will be forwarding it to many Worcester MA people.

    • Stephanie on March 16, 2016 at 12:47 pm

      Thank you Virginia!

  6. Hubert I. Flomenhoft, D.Sc. on March 15, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    There is no question but that our country must eventually make the transition to a single-payer system. It is NOT socialized medicine, as in England. It is socialized medical insurance, appropriate because medical insurance is a responsibility of our society as a whole. It is not appropriate for a for-profit system where maximum profit results from minimum delivery of product. The problem is that Bernie has not defined the practical steps to get there from here, just the ideal. That’s why practical people like Klein and Krugman call it “puppies and rainbows.” Hillary dodges the issue for the purpose of political campaigning, which drives all of her decisions.

    • Jonathan P on March 17, 2016 at 1:36 am

      Dr. Flomenhoft,

      I believe that so-called trade agreements such as the TPP, TTIP, TiSA and their predecessors have a hand in it. Most of the major ones include promises to “liberalise” (i.e. privatize, austerize) public goods and services, and never to nationalize them. Therefore, single-payer is an “impossible” goal without renegotiating or repudiating these agreements. The risk of extrajudicial consequences due to such a major perturbation of business as usual is significant.

    • mark j on March 17, 2016 at 9:38 am

      Krugman, Pelosi, Reid, etc. when behaving rationally have been in favor of single payer and some have even called the ACA a step towards single payer. Now, they have abandoned Democratic principles and based their arguments on Republican rhetoric and pro-Hillary partisanship. If one compares Krugman in his rational days with his current rants (see Doug Henwood for example), one might think he has had a brain transplant as there is little intersection of the two.
      The insiders defending the ACA are little burdened by its actual provisions as they live charmed lives. But, I know people who do have to live with its burdens. And, they are faced the alternative of paying what for them are steep fines or buying lousy and costly insurance. If they have to use their insurance up to their deductible, they will face bankruptcy. Without the ACA they could save money for that rainy day. It seems that the current leaders of the Democratic Party have so much wealth they find it impossible to imagine what the other 90% have to deal with and absolutely no empathy with the lower have of the US population. Their approach to the problem of health care is: “Let them eat private health insurance.”
      As for me, I will never vote, let alone fund, any candidate that works against single payer. Jill Stein and Bernie Sanders are the only rational candidates left.

  7. Molly Marking on March 15, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    As we are required to have health & auto insurance, these should be provided by non-profit organizations. I support Senator Sander’s proposal.

  8. Sharon Schmidt on March 15, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    The Affordable Health Care Act allows states to set up their own health care system in 2017, if it proves to be better. MN has one of the best single-payer bill that will cost less and cover more. What citizens are doing now is pushing legislators to produce the health care systems cost and benefits analysis study. Then the State can ask for a waiver from the ACA.


  9. Dianne on March 15, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    How do taxpayers pay for a single payer system? Answer from studies I’ve read: with the savings provided by eliminating the current Obomacare i.e..:

    $327 Billion from healthcare administrative costs (eliminated)
    $57 Billion no longer necessary to pay private medical insurance for Public Employees
    $326 Billion in federal tax subsidies to medical insurance companies that will not longer be necessary
    50% reduction in the price of drugs due to the purchasing clout of a single payer system

    and much, much more. Can Professor Friedman elaborate more on other ways to pay for a single-payer system that will be freed up by eliminating the current system?

  10. DUsty on March 15, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    Hello, I know as an RN about the total greed in medicine. There is a way possible for us to have a one payer. I have used this in Canada and in Ireland. My husband a few years ago went to an ER in Ireland per sinus . He had CXR , had lab done, saw a Dr who gave him a shot. We left and our bill was $25 not the $2000 you usually get here. My grand daughter in Fla. recently per a kidney stone had a $11,000 bill per they did an MRI after already passing her stone. This cost $7000 she did not need this done? I know as an RN and we did kidney blasting in our outpt. She has to pay a big part of this ER on things not needed . This is to earn the hospital money? WHY? For 10 years at my clinic here in Ga I only see a NP never see a Dr. I am 73 basically healthy/ So there could be clinics set up for us older people and see NP and any real problems then a Dr. I get lab and visits two times a year use to once but they make money off of another visit? WHY/ You as a working Middle Class cannot afford to get sick, My son 50 has Obamacare with a $6000 deductible he hopes to not get sick? Too many years the insurance like the oil industry has made big money off the sick per GREED? Time to change this ? See what many Canadians say yes some have had problems but you do here also? I am for Sen Bernie he is right on per JOBS and a better health care for all?

  11. George Tyson on March 16, 2016 at 11:33 am

    Single-payer will cost something to All of us. I understand there will be a tax on income ( not earnings). No income–no cost? If everyone understood this, they would certainly want single-payer. Even Bernie has not made this clear and neither have you. no wonder some people are suspecis.

  12. […] “Myth Busting Sanders’s Single-Payer Plan” [Health Care Now]. […]

  13. Joseph Eusterman MD on March 17, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    NOT “socialized medicine” (where providers and hospitals are federal govt. employees and owned), but CIVILIZED MEDICINE! Hillary’s (alleged protector of children) incremental approach (preserving private,for profit health insurance companies) to access to affordable health care for all, like all interminable delay, is causing needless deaths and suffering, especially of innocent children who depend on us “adults in the room”! (Google: place [about a 3 yr. old’s death], and: Single Payer is fiscally conservative, socially responsible and morally right. Single Payer-Improved Medicare For All. Everybody In, Nobody Out! “Everybody does better when everybody does better.” (Jim Hightower’s father. GO BERNIE!