Look at Canada to learn how it may work here.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who promoted single-payer health care in his 2016 presidential bid, helped move Canada into the U.S. spotlight.
Lawmakers in California and New York have taken steps toward such programs on a statewide level, and the concept is a hot topic in gubernatorial campaigns in both Illinois and Maryland.
In Canada, medical insurance comes through a publicly funded plan. And, while covering everyone, Canada still spends far less on health care than the United States does: just over 10 percent of its GDP, compared with the United States’ 18 percent.
On a visit to Canada, Sanders said:
People come to a facility like this, which is one of the outstanding hospitals in Canada. They undergo a complicated heart surgery, and they leave without paying a nickel.
It sounds terrific. But the reality is more complicated.
That insurance – which accounts for 70 percent of health spending in Canada-addresses only hospitals and doctors. Prescription medications, dentists, eye doctors and even some specialists aren’t covered. Most Canadians get additional private insurance to cover those.
Read about the trade-offs in Kaiser Health News
Single-payer systems operate in many countries today. Each system has big differences. Do you think you understand Canada’s system and how it works ? Take this little quiz by Kaiser Health News to test your understanding.