By: Christopher Cai, et al.
Authors: Christopher Cai ,Jackson Runte,Isabel, Ostrer,Kacey, Berry,Ninez, Ponce,Michael, Rodriguez,Stefano, Bertozzi, Justin S. White, James G. Kahn
Published: January 15, 2020
Financed by: Physicians for a National Health Program
Legislation analyzed: No exact legislation. A systematic economic analysis of 22 single-payer plans in the US was done.
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Why was this study done?
As the US healthcare debate continues, there is growing interest in “single-payer” also known as “Medicare for All.” Single-payer uses a simplified public funding approach to provide everyone with high-quality health insurance.
Public support for provision of universal health coverage through a plan like Medicare for All is as high as 70%, but falls when costs are emphasized.
Economic models help assess the financial viability of single-payer. Yet, models vary widely in their assumptions and methods, and can be hard to compare.
What did the researchers do and find?
We found and compared cost analyses of 22 single-payer plans for the US or individual states.
Nineteen (86%) of the analyses estimated that health expenditures would fall in the first year, and all suggested the potential for long-term cost savings.
The largest savings were predicted to come from simplified billing and lower drug costs.
Studies funded by organizations across the political spectrum estimated savings for single-payer.
What do these findings mean?
There is near-consensus in these analyses that single-payer would reduce health expenditures while providing high-quality insurance to all US residents.
To achieve net savings, single-payer plans rely on simplified billing and negotiated drug price reductions, as well as global budgets to control spending growth over time.
Replacing private insurers with a public system is expected to achieve lower net healthcare costs.