Asked to identify countries with a true single-payer healthcare plan, you could name just two. Only in Canada and Taiwan do we have the government paying the medical bills and setting the prices.
Where are we going? To the costs of the single-payer system.
Taiwan’s Single-Payer Plan
Started in 1995, Taiwan’s National Health Insurance (NHI) includes “outpatient visits, inpatient care, dental care, traditional Chinese medicine, renal dialysis, and prescription drugs.” Also according to a Brookings Report, everyone has access to the same care and benefits that taxes on payroll as well as additional income like dividends and bonuses fund.
The system’s advocates point out that the life expectancy for men is 76.69 years, for women, 83.25 years, and cost is relatively low:
But you can see the varied grades that the system has received for healthcare quality:
Looking more specifically at the patient experience (D grade in previous table), the following data on time spent with a doctor provides some insight:
Our Bottom Line: Single-Payer Healthcare Plan Costs
Similarly, the cost of a single-payer plan is about a lot more than money. Yes, it takes us to the dollars we would spend but also what we sacrifice. In a recent study from the Urban Institute, the U.S. “cost” for a single-payer plan would involve incentives for medical care providers, patient coverage, hospital stays, the existence of insurance companies, pharmaceutical firm profits, the federal budget, the federal bureaucracy, time with a doctor…the list is endless.
So when pondering a politician’s healthcare proposal or a slice of pizza, an economist would always remind us that there is no free lunch.