Bernie Sanders : Pros and Cons of Single-Payer Health Care (MEDICARE-For-ALL)

Last Updated on Feb 22nd, 2016 | By | Category: Single-Payer Health Care

Pros and Cons of Bernie Sanders’ Single Payer Health Care (Healthcare for All)

We are at that point of the year where every presidential hopefuls and leading candidates will unravel their plans to make America better. At the moment, it looks like the health plan between the two leading democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sander is what is going to make the difference for who will become the party flag bearer. There has been much talk about how the candidates are going to fix economy, creates more job and support the average American family, there have even been talks about American soldiers in the War zone, what we haven’t  seen much of yet, though, is how the leading presidential candidates plan to bring much-needed reform in the healthcare sector.



Bernie Sanders has taken the lead in this regard with his most popular health care program which is “Single Payer Health Care”.  It’s a health care plan for each and every US citizen would be insured and no one would be left behind. He is the man that is going to fix the America’s healthcare system with his single-payer national health care program. Here is what Bernie has to say about his healthcare reform.

“Health care must be recognized as a right, not a privilege. Every man, woman and child in our country should be able to access the health care they need regardless of their income. The only long-term solution to America’s health care crisis is a single-payer national health care program” Source: Berniesanders.com

We will take a look at what the “Single-payer healthcare plan” for the each and every of average middle-class Americans.

What is Single-Payer National Healthcare Program?

A single payer insurance or single payer plan is a system or process where a specific place’s government covers or pays for all the health care expenses of individuals. There are pros and cons to this kind of system. Single-payer health care plan also known as “Medicare for all” is the type of health insurance where a single public agency organizes health care financing, however the actual delivery of care are still left largely in private hands. This type of healthcare plan will guarantee that all residents of U.S would receive cover for all important medical services which consist of long-term care, reproductive health care, mental health, vision, dental, preventive health care, prescription drug and medical supply costs.

How Does Single Payer Health Care Work?

This type of healthcare plan is mostly financed by the savings government would get from replacing today’s inefficient, profit-oriented system with a nonprofit, single streamlined public payer system. Another source of funding for single-payer health insurance is through the modest new taxes that are based on the ability to pay. Bernie Sanders plan to tax those that earn $250,000 and above more. Under this type of health plan; premiums would disappear and more than 90% of American households will be able to save money that would otherwise be channeled into insurance payments. Those that need medical attention would no longer face financial barriers to receiving healthcare such as co-pays and deductibles and they will be free to choose hospital and doctor. Moreover, single-payer health insurance would enable doctors to regain autonomy over patient care.

The most recent debate about healthcare coverage that is most suitable for American citizens have fueled the quest to understand the difference between different type of healthcare plan such as a single payer system and universal health care coverage.

Bernie Sanders on Universal Health Care

Bernie Sanders on Universal Health Care

What’s the difference between Single Payer Health Care and Universal Health Care in general?

Universal care coverage and single payer system may be confused for one another because they are closely related concepts however they are two separate things.

Universal healthcare coverage refers to a system where every individual in the United States will receive health coverage. Under universal coverage, the over 46.6 million Americans who albeit have no health insurance will receive coverage.



Whereas, a single payer system is the type of healthcare plan where one party mostly the government, will be responsible for paying all healthcare claims. Currently, the type of health care system in place in United States is the one where separate private insurance companies are charged with paying for the healthcare claims of the rich few who were able to afford the insurance while federal and state government pay some special  healthcare care claims through the programs known as Medicaid and Obamacare.

Usually, universal healthcare coverage and single payer health insurance system go together since in most cases, the federal government will be the one responsible for the administration and payment of health care system that provides coverage for millions of people. On the other hand, it’s possible to have a universal healthcare coverage in place without having a single-payer system. In theory, it is possible to have a single-payer system without universal healthcare coverage however the possibility of it is extremely unlikely since such a system will undoubtedly be managed by the federal government.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Bernie Sanders’ Proposed Single-Payer National HealthCare Plan?

We will now take a look at the pros and cons of having this plan in place come next year (i.e. if Bernie Sanders win presidential race)

Single Payer Health Care Pros

Single payer health care was introduced together with several pros. Here are some of those:

  • Guaranteed Health Care

Single payer guarantees high quality health care services regardless of who you are or what you are into. Everybody is treated equally so social and economic status is never a hindrance for you to receive this insurance. All the legal residents of United System will get coverage. Single payer health care system ensures that every person gets health care to the full extent which is required by their health.

  • Non-Complex Billing

Submission of complex billing statements that usually requires some office personnel or any staff is eliminated. Thus, physicians and doctors can freely practice medicine at any time.

  • Recognition

Physicians who give out great health care quality can be rewarded for such good doing in providing preventive care. In some countries, most doctors and physicians can receive bonuses after giving their patients a truly remarkable health care. These vary though depending on what country you are in.
Pros and Cons of Single-Payer Health Care

  • Reduce Cost / Lower Cost

Because this is a non-profit organization, cost of providing health care is substantially reduced. No corporate executives are employed so there is no reason to aim for a higher profit since no bonuses or extreme salaries are to be given out to the staffs. There will be a significant reduction in the amount you pay as health insurance each year.

  • No-Limitations

No one will ever be denied on receiving these health care services because this is open to all citizens. Single payer health insurance covers everything regardless of individual differences and even though you have or pre-existing medical conditions or not.

  • No Insurance Premiums

Insurance premiums are eliminated. This means, it does not exist. Thus, taxpayers can have significant reduction in the taxes they are paying compared to those who acquires costly health insurance from private organizations.

  • Reduce Amount of Paperwork

There are lots of paperworks that doctors and nurses have to deal with under the current healthcare plan. Introduction of single payer health care plan would reduce it to a significant extent.

  • No More Private Health Insurance (Only One Buyer Required)

The cost of medications will be significantly reduced since now there will be only one buyer which is the government.

Arguments Against Single Payer Health Care (Cons)

As single payer health care system expands its benefits for many people, many critics still debated the effectiveness of this system and cited many cons. Here are some of those:

  • Increased Bureaucracy

Government bureaucracy is increased because this is needed to administer the program. This is basically just like Medicare but was expanded its coverage. Anything run by government usually takes a lot of time. A single payer system will see an increase in queue in hospital and time required before a patient can be able to receive care.


  • Physicians Became Government Employees/Government Controlled

The government will be the one paying your medical expenses. Thus, this looks like the physicians became government employees as they were receiving salaries from the government. This is not totally a con then, since some may also consider this as pros depending on how you view things. Single payer system will automatically turn all doctors, nurses, research universities and other health workers and medical equipment manufacturers into employees of the government.


  • Uses Socialized Medicine

The use of socialized medicine is considered as evil things since this is against what America stands for. This is because it can lead one’s nation to becoming a communist dictatorship nation.

  • Socialism

Many people do not understand the real meaning of socialism and they cannot even understand that single payer is associated with this.

  • Waiting Times

One common issue exhibited by this single payer health care system is in the waiting time one needs to get the fund processed by the government. Thus, you have the sole responsibility to evaluate public option vs single payer and single payer vs universal health care to find what is best for you.

  • Reduce Development

This system has a strong tendency to reduce creativity since there is no more financial incentive for people to carry out research and develop new medicines.

  • Increase Government Burden

Single payer healthcare system will automatically increase the size and burden of government since more personnel will be required to administer the financial activities that are involved in this system.

Bernie Sanders proposal is still a long shot, the senator brought up this proposal two years ago. He knows that currently he has no co-sponsor however he is determined to garner support that will see the bill passed into law if elected even that is still a long shot as many insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and other powerful lobby group are posed to stop it as implementation of this system will automatically closed down their businesses. The single payer plan system can either be good or bad and this solely depends on how you view things on your own perspective.

Countries with Universal Health Care
Is Single-Payer Health Care System A Good Idea?

16 Comments to “Bernie Sanders : Pros and Cons of Single-Payer Health Care (MEDICARE-For-ALL)”

  1. Paul Denny says:

    I disagree with the “con” argument about more bureacracy. By going to a national health inaurance – we can eliminate the “socialist” VA health care system, as veterans will all be covered accordingly; 50 massive state bureacracies and thousands of county bureacracies would no longer be needed to support medicaid – it could be scrapped as all US citizens would be covered. I believe “elimination of excess bureacracy” is actually a pro-single payer argument.

  2. James says:

    The argument that socialized medicine will lead to communism is ignorant and laughable, really? If that’s true, I’ve waiting for Canada’s communist revolution for the last fifty years…. hmmmm.. nothing so far? I’m still waiting

    • Roberta says:

      Many Canadians when faced with the horrific wait time and lack of the latest procedures used in the US, come to the
      US for their care. Again, if you can afford it you go around the system.

  3. Michael Hotovy says:

    One serious drawback never mentioned: No legal recourse. If single payer delays, denies or screws up your care (i.e. government actuarial charts show you’re too old for a hip replacement to be cost efficient/economy is in a depression so tax dollars are scare and we have to trim services to stay on budget/you disagree with government standards for diagnosis/doctors screw up your care, etc.), you can’t sue the government or pursue other care via different insurance company or out-of-pocket care. Government can have completely different priorities (cost cutting) than the patient does (getting better). Without choice or recourse, what are we to do?

    • Sara says:

      Actually, that’s not true.

      In the UK we have a single payer system and you can sue the government if the doctors screw up your medical care. They have stringent and extremely fair rules that set out what constitutes malpractice in order to prevent frivolous claims, but genuine cases are treated very seriously.

      The constant litigation in the Us medical system is also one of the main reasons why healthcare there is comparatively so expensive. Crazy lawsuits result in crazy premiums for doctors as well as unnecessary treatments by doctors who make their medical decisions based on covering their butts than the best interests of the patient. This ultimately makes healthcare less affordable for people who genuinely need help – which is why doctors, nurses and hospitals should exist in the first place.

      In UK if your child swallows a small coin; the doctor maybe does one x-ray to make sure it has passed the windpipe safely and then you wait for it to come out the other end. In the US, that same child might get another abdominal x-ray a few days later when panicked Mother takes him back to the ER because the coin has not passed yet.

      Medically speaking, the extra dose of radiation from a chest x-ray to a small child is probably a bigger a risk to the child’s health than the actual coin which will almost certainly pop out when it’s ready, so it is best for the child if the worried Mother is sent home to let nature to take it’s course. With the threat of litigation though, the doctor needs to cover his butt, so he does an unnecessary test which is not medical best practice and which is also incredibly costly. Similarly, a kid with a small bump the the head is better off without a CT scan, which has a pretty high level of associated radiation exposure that might be better to avoid.

      With a single payer system, doctors and nurses are still accountable – but according to reason and the patient’s best interests. Not profit or fear of a lawsuit. Tests and medications are given to people who actually need them. People are given a lot more preventative care because the system has a vested interest in reducing the likely lifetime medical burden of each individual on society as a whole. The minute that medical decisions start to be made based on cost / fear of litigation or how much money a person has is the minute it all starts going wrong. the business of medicine should never be based on profits. Lives are not for sale.

      In terms of the costs versus results, the facts speak for themselves. The US spends more per capita on healthcare than almost any country in the world, several times what the UK spends. They take a lot more prescription medications per capita. They take a lot more imaging scans per capita. They spend a lot higher a proportion of taxpayer funds to provide healthcare to a much smaller proportion of citizens. The cost of surgery and all treatments is much higher – sometimes 10 times higher than the most sophisticated European countries. The cost of medicine is significantly higher. And yet with all that extra money being spent on the same illnesses, the US still has a higher rate of chronic diseases due to the lack of preventative care. It still has one of the lowest life expectancy rates. It still has the highest obesity rate in the world. It still has an infant mortality rate of almost double most of Europe. And with all that extra money and extra litigation across the board almost uniformly, the US has almost identical mortality rates for all the major diseases -cancer, heart disease and one of the highest rates of diabetes (again, probably down to obesity and complete lack of preventative care for the poorest people).

      It’s absolutely indisputable fact that countries with a single payer system, or with any other system at all, have the same results or better for WAAAAAAAAY less money, and that all citizens, regardless of income, status or ability to pay are afforded the same rights to healthcare and rights to life.

      There is an illusion that somehow the smaller queues or prettier bedrooms somehow make things better for people, and sure, sometimes you might have to wait in a single payer system to have minor surgery or you might be turned away for unnecessary tests but you have the freedom to use a private hospital with a fancy room or a private insurance company if you wish to.

      Private health insurance in the UK costs a tiny fraction of what it does in the US. Why? Because the care provided through the single payer system – despite it’s failings – is actually world class in terms of results. People feel safe knowing that the people taking care of them are not interested in making money, but in taking care of their patients. And if anything, most UK citizens want to see their doctors and nurses paid more for the incredible work that they do.

      • Veronica says:

        Great comment. I would also add that, too often, insurance in the US dictates to doctors what they can and cannot do or what medication they can prescribe. My brother recently was told that his medication was too costly and his doctor must use one from the approved list. He has rheumatoid arthritis and the change in meds has had a negative impact on his day to day activity, along with increased pain. This in a person with severe mobility problems already.

        • vooluntia says:

          THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE GOVERNMENT DOES

          AND WITH THE GOV RUN

          THERE IS NO WHERES ELSE TO GO

          SHAME ON YOU !!

  4. Britanica says:

    I’m sorry but a lot of Bernie’s ideas are a mess. Though he has good intentions, most of them will end up leaving so many people without jobs, homes, and food. The whole thing about raising minimum wage and free college was the second I hopped off his wagon. Who does he expect to pay for this stuff? You know who would… Me and all the other workers in America. We would be taxed out the butt and the cost of living would greatly increase.

    • Really? says:

      Last I checked, Germany has fully paid post-secondary education for all of its citizens and they’re doing just fine economically. Socialism gets pulled in with Communism way too often in Murica. Guess what, it works. Every other G8 country has universal healthcare for its people. He’s a thought, you don’t wanna pay for it right? How about pulling a few billion from the massive defense budget and putting it back towards the American population?

      • Jim says:

        The way I understand the German system (and several others in Europe) is that only those who qualify for it have free education. If you don’t receive the grades/test scores to be considered for university you are sent in a more vocational setting. I don’t see any such limitation in this plan. Working in education has made me much more cynical about the students who go to college but then fail. Almost a third will have no chance to get through college because they did not have the aptitude or attitude for it. I would consider funding a C student who scores below average on college exams to be a colossal waste of taxpayer money.

      • vooluntia says:

        YOU dont understand that socialism is the link to communism

        also

        gov run means there is no wheres else to go

        no other hospital to treat you if you , for example, dont agree with the DR or hospital you are with

  5. Tineen says:

    It seems for some that patriotism stops just short of our check book/wallet. Sad, truly. We have those in this country that is quick to call themselves patriots but never really walked the walk!

  6. Jamie says:

    There were a lot of good things about Bernie’s plan but as others have said there are a lot of holes to be poked. Coverage for all with no or low premiums and no private companies sounds like a dream but the logistics of all that are slightly more than complicated. As far as today’s issues, “TrumpCare” doesn’t seem loans different than Obamacare despite him talking down on it at every chance he gets. And from what I’ve seen, Trump’s plan may not permit insurance companies from cherry picking who they cover, which was one of the biggest complaints of the middle to lower class pre-Obamacare. I don’t know what the best solution is, but thus far I haven’t been convinced on any of the proposed ideas yet.

  7. Mark Murphy says:

    I would love to see all the research that goes into the technology of building a bigger war machine. The comment above that stated their would be less incentive for those in the research and development area’s of medicine, I assumed for new technologies like immunotherapy finding cures building more effective prevention and surgical tools like the Devinci robot or less invasive types. Then it hit me. The military is socialized war welfare. Military contractors, I view in the same light as health insurance companies. They promise better products or coverages, yet they also set prices. If we don’t pay their price, maybe the Russians or Chinese will, so they either threaten to pull their business to more lucrative markets leveraging their extortion, or pull their business, this is exactly why the ACA is having issues. The ACA had nice little extras put in it to let the states set up their own insurance exchanges. Put simply, the politicians decided which insurance companies got a slice of the pie for the business. In some states, the politicians gave all the business to one or 2 maybe, insurance providers. Then, those insurance companies fained they were losing money to demand a raise from the states or they pull their business. My insurance companies whatever auto,life,health,home owners or renters…premiums go up every year. I haven’t filed a claim on any of them. My costs keep rising every year.. That’s the insurance game. Without the ACA and before it Health care insurance rose an average of 22% per year…..OMG! Right? The republicans said the ACA went up 22% last year…some politicians embellished the percentage at 23%. OMG! My point is the F35 took ten years to perfect we payed close to a trillion dollars on the development of that one plane. A trillion dollars would fund Single payer quite nicely add in the public option. Game on!

  8. freebird says:

    I don’t understand why our healthcare system should do the same as other countries.

    I don’t like the concept of the government making decisions for my health.

  9. Julianne says:

    Having worked for an HMO for a little over a year, I can say that insurance companies add ZERO value to the healthcare system. Instead they make buckets of money for nothing. They second guess doctors and deny care, even when medically necessary. They discuss policy decisions in terms of how many lives they will cost. It was kind of horrifying. Even as an employee, I was denied care my dr and I thought was necessary. When denying a request for bunion surgery, they sent me a letter telling me to “wear comfortable shoes.” Gee thanks.

    With a single payer system, as I experienced while living in France, money goes towards care, period. Not insurance companies. France is rated as having the best health care system in the world. I found it extremely efficient and paperwork was so simple. I had doctors treat me from beginning to end too — during post-op visits the surgeon himself checked my progress and changed dressings. AT NO CHARGE. The French government does not make healthcare decisions, the doctors do. I’d guess single payer would even cost less if you took out the insurance company layer.

    It’s shameful that politicians in the United States don’t see value in ensuring quality healthcare for all. I’m an independent voter, but feel strongly about fixing this issue. Trump needs to be held accountable for his promise to “replace Obamacare with something much much better, so much better.” What a load! Of course he had no intention of doing anything other than lining the pockets of his rich buddies who now fill his cabinet. Republicans in Congress are complicit.

    Oh, the French also attend university at no charge. Yes your test scores and grades will impact where you can go (as they do in the US), but as another comment said, it makes sense to use some criterion to evaluate whether a student is likely to be successful in a given program. There are some private colleges too though.

    (If the French elect Marine Le Pen, forget everything I just said.)

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