Citizen-led efforts to institute more universal health care programs are cropping up across the country.
Some are very similar to the Canadian health care system. They call for a single-payer system, meaning that medical care would be paid for out of a single publicly administered pool of money, rather than by myriad managed care plans. In most plans the health insurance program would be administered by a health care “trust,” governed by a combination of stakeholders, including health care advocates, providers, organizations and experts, taxpayer representatives, and state officials.
Providers would still charge on a fee-for-service basis, with fees determined through negotiations between these stakeholders. Patients would still have the freedom to choose their health care provider. “Medically necessary” care would be covered. Many plans have some sort of sliding premium scale, whereby the poorest residents of the state would pay no health care taxes, and the wealthiest residents would pay the most.
Here we highlight some single-payer and universal health care initiatives that have been introduced or put in place.
- The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s provides a wide array of information on state efforts to expand coverage. Their shows what each state is doing with Medicaid, SCHIP, and state-only programs. Also look for their annual State of the States report. State Coverage InitiativesState Coverage Matrix
- The Urban Institute’s Assessing the New Federalism section has reports on state fiscal policy related to health and wellbeing, as well as state profiles of health insurance, access, and use.
- Policymakers interested in employer mandates should read the National Academy for State Health Insurance Policy’s Revisiting Pay or Play: How States Could Expand Employer-Based Coverage Within ERISA Constraints.
- A Public-Private Partnership for Health Care For All Marylanders – Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative, December 2002
This report is a blueprint that Maryland can follow to achieve a market-based, fair, responsible, and economically sound universal health care system.
- White Paper: “Physicians’ Working Group on Single – Payer National Health Insurance – by the Universal Health Care Working Group, May 2001
- The Canadian Cure – by Daniel Kraker, The New Rules, Winter 2001. This article explores how Canada’s provinces established a health care system founded on equity, public administration and decentralized control.
- American Health Care Reform
- Physicians for a National Health Program
- Universal Health Care Action Network
- A primer on single payer health care and from the American Medical Student Association
- Universal Health Care Briefing to the Progressive Caucus – by The Physicians’ Working Group on Single-Payer National Health Insurance, May 1, 2001