The topic of single-payer healthcare is enjoying a moment in the limelight in the US. A significant chunk of the population supports such a system, and more than a few presidential candidates have stated they do as well. As sweeping economic policies go, this one seems to be easier to analyze than many, given that there are a number of countries using such (or very similar) systems, including other Western democracies.

My main questions are as follows:

  • Does the theory and evidence indicate that single-payer improves the financial well-being of patients, and if so, how are those improvements distributed (how do the benefits differ at different income levels, e.g.)?

  • How does it affect the medical industry generally? Is there merit to the claims opponents of single-payer often make that it reduces innovation and technological advancement within the sector? How does it affect employment and wages of medical staff?

  • Beyond the obvious (higher taxes), what are the implications of such a massive government spending program?

I have no particular background in economics, but I imagine that this question will generate very different answers from different economic schools. I'd appreciate several perspectives, if possible!


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