By: Government Accounting Office
Author: Mark V. Nadel
Published: June 4, 1991
Financed by: Congress of the United States
Legislation analyzed: none, study models the effect of adopting Canada's single-payer healthcare system in the United States.

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Author's Summary

If the universal coverage and single-payer features of the Canadian system were applied in the United States, the savings in administrative costs alone would be more than enough to finance insurance coverage for millions of Americans who are currently uninsured. There would be enough left over to permit a reduction, or possibly even the elimination, of copayments and deductibles, if that were deemed appropriate.

If the single payer also had the authority and responsibility to oversee the system as a whole, as in Canada, it could potentially constrain the growth in long-run health care costs. Measured either on a per capita basis or as a share of gross national product, health care costs have risen at a dramatically slower pace in Canada than in the United states. The difference reflects Canada's low administrative costs, controls on hospital budgets and on the acquisition of high-technology equipment, and fee controls for physician services.