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Comparing Public and Private Health Insurance: Would A Single-Payer System Save Enough to Cover the Uninsured?

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Publication Date: October 2007

Publisher(s): Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. Center for Medical Progress

Author(s): Benjamin Zycher

Funder(s): Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

Funder(s): Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

Topic: Health (Health services administration)
Health (Health services for the uninsured)
Health (Health care financing)

Keywords: uninsured; single-payer; health insurance

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


The public discussion of prospective reform of the U.S. health-care system has focused in substantial part on the question of how to extend insurance coverage to those now uninsured, and on how to deal with the attendant increased costs for the system as a whole. Some argue that a single-payer system similar to Medicare would realize savings in administrative costs sufficient to extend insurance coverage to all of the uninsured.

The central objective of this study is a comparison of the administrative and other important non-benefit costs of private health-insurance plans with those of Medicare, which is used as a prototype for a large single-payer (that is, government-financed) insurance system.