Public doesn’t know what ‘single payer’ means

by Paul Lucas29 Feb 2016
Free health care is something that the majority of Canadians have always enjoyed – so it’s often with a bewildered eye that we take a look at the on-going debate south of the border.

In the US, a lot of political campaigning is centred around health care – in fact, Bernie Sanders had made “Medicare for All” the focus of his campaign to become President.

However, when a recent AP poll quizzed people about the meaning of the “single payer” health care concept, a large number simply didn’t understand it: and when it was explained to them, they didn’t appear to like it.

According to Emily Swanson and Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar from AP, just 39 per cent support the replacement of the private health insurance system; while 33 per cent are actually opposed to it.

Yet when they were then asked about their willingness to pay higher taxes in order to enjoy such a plan, or to give up their own employer-sponsored programs, the support began to dwindle further. Instead 39 per cent said they would oppose any plan that involved either of those steps. Support dropped even further when other potential pitfalls of a single-payer system were outlined.

In addition, a poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation revealed that Americans are similarly perplexed by the concept of “Medicare for All”. While thirty six per cent were “very positive” about the term, just 15 per cent shared that view about “single payer”.

What do you make of the on-going health care debate in the USA? Should Americans revert to the Canadian system: or does our own health care have many pitfalls too? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.