Improving Value

Single Payer

While there are many potential variations of a single-payer system, common features include: funding for a core set of medical services that comes from a single, publicly financed source; provider reimbursement established by the public entity; and broad or universal coverage. An informed debate over single-payer approaches must explore the strategies’ potential to “bend the cost curve”—addressing areas where we overspend on healthcare while improving quality and addressing health disparities.

This Hub brief finds that single-payer is uniquely suited to address some reasons for high health spending (like excess administrative spending and monopoly pricing), but other healthcare value goals (such as reducing low-value care, increasing high-value care and improving health equity) will only be achieved if proposed legislation explicitly incorporates these ideas, and includes a flexible programmatic toolset and feedback mechanisms to ensure success.

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