Today, health services in the U.S. are paid for through a crazy-quilt system of employer-sponsored health coverage, private market insurance, public and semi-public systems such as Medicare and Medicaid, and the Veterans Administration. The costs and benefits of different plans and policies are extremely difficult to compare. Benefits, premiums, and out-of-pocket costs change frequently. Eligibility varies, too, so that a change in circumstance – income, employment, health or marital status, etc. – can leave a person without insurance or rushing to change plans.
Under a “Single Payer” system, all health services would be paid for through one public health care trust fund, covering all residents without regard to their current circumstances, and assuring a full range of benefits including behavioral health, dental, vision, and long-term care.
Single payer is not “government-run” health care: health services would continue to be provided in the same way they are today. But those services would be paid for in a simpler and less costly way by removing the “middle-man” of private insurance. As a result, there would be huge administrative and overhead savings that would help to extend coverage to everyone and eliminate out-of-pocket costs such as premiums, co-pays, and deductibles. The purpose of insurance under a Single Payer system would be to assure the well-being of the population, not to generate profit for corporations. Read more about Single Payer here and here.