Author: Debate_Guru

The US Should Adopt a Single Payer Health Care System

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PRO (3 arguments)


Single-payer healthcare is a system in which the state, rather than private insurers, pays for all healthcare costs excluding elective healthcare.

1. It is a fundamental role of the state to ensure the health of the general populace.

Quality health care is tantamount to the life, liberty, and happiness of citizens. Without adequate treatment options, it is impossible to maintain one’s body and enjoy one’s life. Access to health care directly dictates our quality of life and ultimately our freedom, and is a civil right entitled to all citizens. Arguably, the primary role of government is to ensure that all citizens are able to maintain their rights. According to the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” If 48 million Americans are uninsured, the state is not fulfilling its obligation to promote unalienable rights, such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. A system of universal, single payer health care is the clearest way for the government to ensure the rights of the American people. As Dr. Duncan Cross describes, “Civil rights are what we call those claims necessary to secure free and equal citizenship, secondary to basic rights. For example, we have the right to vote because society is ordered in a way that makes voting both possible and essential to our free and full participation in society. Voting is a civil right. Health care is a civil right because society is ordered in such a way as to make it both possible and essential to the free and full participation of the sick, injured and disabled in society. I can tell you: lack of health care makes it impossible for one to participate freely and fully in society.”


In order to have a true democracy and have everyone have the same chance at having a good life, we need to have a single payer health care system. Everyone should have the same chance at having a stable income and that simply cannot happen if 48 million people do not have health care or any other insurance.

2. Adopting a single payer health care system will save the U.S billions of dollars.

The U.S is one of the few countries that has yet to adopt a single payer health care system and therefore, is losing billions of dollars. The U.S is throwing away taxes that all of us have to pay for because it has refused to adopt an efficient system that would save billions. 

The United States spends 17% of its entire GDP solely on health care, by far the highest in the industrialized world. On the other hand, in Canada, a nation with a Single Payer, Medicare-for-all system, everybody has health insurance. And conversely, Canada only spends 10% of its GDP on health care.  A new poll conducted by the Toronto-based Nanos Research points to overwhelming support — 86.2 percent — for public health care (single payer) in Canada, while in the US, only 40% of Americans support the current health care (Huffington Post). Let's say the switch we did was mirroring the Canadian model.Government Accountability Office studies concluded, “If the US were to shift to a system of universal coverage and a single  payer, as in Canada, the savings in administrative costs [10 percent of health spending] would be more than enough to offset the expense of universal coverage.” It is a common myth that single payer would increase costs to the government and raise current deficits. But many federal studies have shown that the overall cost saving

would be extremely large, 100-200 billion dollars in savings. If you are assuming local benefits, for example Massachusetts or Connecticut, studies have shown 1-2 billion in savings within those states. A system of, Single Payer health care in the United States will dramatically expand coverage, drive down costs, and ultimately improve the quality of care. In 2007, the US spent an average of $7,439 per person. France however, spent an average of about $3,000 per person. The US's expenditure is more than double France's.


Judge, obviously a single payer health care system will economically benefit the U.S. By benefiting the U.S. Like this, not only do we through racial boundaries out the door and have everyone have health care, but we can do this using less money than the current system.

3. By implementing a single payer health care system, a standardized treatment is formed, and no one can be discriminated against based upon pre existing conditions and one's race or financial status.

According to a Harvard Public Health Care Review, Research continually exposes alarming health disparities in the United States, particularly impacting African Americans and Native Americans. These groups have lower life expectancies than non-Hispanic white Americans, and experience higher rates of most major causes of death including infant mortality, trauma, heart disease, and diabetes. Yet despite their greater need, access to care is worse for minority populations by most measures.


African American and Hispanic median household income was 58 percent and 70 percent, respectively, that of non-Hispanic whites in 2011. In contrast, the median net worth of black and Hispanic householders was $6,314 and $7,683, respectively, vs. $110,500 for non-Hispanic whites, a major difference. With such wealth disparities, minorities are often forced to sacrifice better housing for health care. At present, we have the world’s highest per-capita health care spendings, yet tens of millions remain un- and under-insured, and our health outcomes trail most other wealthy nations. According to the University of Chicago, Racial disparities in health care and health outcomes are a disturbing feature of the American health care system.  

Recent Studies and Headlines “Risk of Fatal Stroke is Greatest for Blacks, Government Says,” “Study Finds Racial Gap in Heart Disease,” “Racial Gap Seen for Prescriptions,” and “Study Finds Racial Differences in the Use of Feeding Tubes” have called public attention to racial disparities in health care and health outcomes in the United States. It is appalling that in the United States of America, a country that is known for being the land of the free and equal, we are facing racism in something, healthcare, which is a human right. And although there may be financial challenges, but we have proven there are not, health care is a human right. We need to make sure that every American, no matter if they are not white, have HIV, have a low income, etc, deserve a chance to live. The single payer health care system is the epitome of what America stands for, equal opportunity and an equal chance. Judge, vote for the proposition for all those who under the existing health care system don't have a chance, who are being denied their right to live based on something as trivial as their skin color.


University of Chicago, Harvard Review

CON (6 arguments)


We define a single payer health care system as a health care system in which public agency organizes health care financing, but the delivery of care remains largely in private hands. This system would only be for citizens of the US.

1. A single payer health care system would hurt the economy worse than any other system has.

The proposition side might believe that this system will give citizens of the US cheaper health care than they have right now, but it won’t. Where do you think that money will come from? Judge, that money will come from everyday taxpayers like you. The federal government has already decided on a budget and cannot allocate for this new system. This system will also pay doctors only about three-fourths of what they get paid by private insurers. 

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the plans for the US single payer health care system would reduce payments per service for doctors and physicians by 22%. 22%. Furthermore, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that “Under a single payer system without co-payments people would have $144 a year less to spend than they have now, on average consumer payments for health would fall by $1,118 per capita, but taxes would have to increase by $1,261 per capita to finance this plan.” This would hurt the economy because many doctors would leave their jobs as they are only getting paid ¾ of what they were before. Less jobs, worse economy.

Employers who don’t offer insurance — 9,000 small businesses — would be hit with a new tax that would collectively cost them $388 million or more, depending on how the cost was split with workers.Furthermore it would increase taxes, and high taxes are a sign of a worse economy. Also, estimates that the cost of this investment might reach 1.5 trillion dollars in the next decade, the answer is a resounding no. Even the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities – a gleft leaning think tank – opined that the Congress could not come up with the necessary funding to go ahead with the health reform without introducing some very unpopular policies, such as raising taxes to pay for this. According to the NPR, Sanders’ proposals a single payer health care system would put an extra $18 trillion in debt over just 10 years. It would cost the government an additional $32 trillion to pay for health care.


Judge, how would you feel if you were suddenly getting payed ¾ of what you were before? How would you feel if the money you saved from this program goes straight back to the government for taxes? How would you feel if you suddenly have to pay 388 million dollars more? That is what would happen if the US adopted this system. More taxes, less jobs, and less small businesses which would all deteriorate the economy.


NY Times, Congressional Budget Office, Physician for a National Health Program

2. Universal healthcare systems are inefficient.

Many countries have adopted single payer healthcare systems, and they all have major problems with healthcare. Single payer healthcare systems cause significantly longer waiting lists, do not save money, and are bad for countries and individual patients. One of the countries lauded for its universal health care is France. So what has the introduction of universal coverage brought the French? Costs and waiting lists. France’s system of single-payer health coverage goes like this: the taxpayers fund a state insurer called Assurance Maladie, so that even patients who cannot afford treatment can get it. Now although, at face value, France spends less on healthcare and achieves better public health metrics (such as infant mortality), it has a big problem. The state insurer has been deep in debt since 1989, which has now reached 15 billion euros. Another major problem with universal health care efficiency is waiting lists. In 2006 in Britain it was reported that almost a million Britons were waiting for admission to hospitals for procedures. In Sweden the lists for heart surgery are 25 weeks long and hip replacements take a year. Very telling is a ruling by the Canadian Supreme Court, another champion of universal health care: “access to a waiting list is not access to health care”.


Universal health coverage does sound nice in theory, but the dual cancers of costs and waiting lists make it a subpar option when looking for solution to offer Americans efficient, affordable and accessible health care.

3. A single payer healthcare system would give the government too much control over our health care.

Switching to a single payer healthcare system would make it so that the federal government would amass greater power over the financing and delivery of medical service and also determine the benefits and medical procedures that Americans would get and the prices providers are paid for them. While it may not seem like a bad thing to give the government control over our health care coverage, it would actually a negative effect on the entire population, especially members of the medical profession. 

Such government control would:

  1. Result in lower payments to physicians and health care providers compared to a multiple payer system;

  2. Reduce quality of care physicians are able to give by limiting the ability of physicians to invest in advanced medical equipment that takes advantage of new technology;

  3. Limit access to care in the short term, as current physicians and other professionals chose to retire earlier or leave their profession;

  4. Limit access to care in the long term, as the prospect of lower earnings makes talented professionals less interested in the profession; and

  5. Therefore reducing the rate of medical progress because of less talented professionals in the industry.


Judge, if we switched to a single payer healthcare system, it would give our government way too much power over our care. Clearly this would have a negative effect on our doctors and our entire population.

4. A single payer healthcare system would reduce the quality of healthcare and medical attention.

If the US adopted a single payer healthcare system, waiting lists would increase and the quality of medical attention would decrease. The demand for medical attention and surgeries will go up, and doctors will have to work too hard in order to give all of their patients proper care. Patients in countries with these systems receive the lowest quality of healthcare, since when the government has a monopoly on healthcare, they are not required to give anything more than the minimum. What’s more, healthcare systems can deny older citizens certain surgeries and treatments, because it will not last as long as it would on a healthy person. Another example of a major difference in countries with single payer healthcare systems and the USA is wait time. According to the Center for Disease Control, the average ER wait time in the US is 30 minutes. However, the Canadian Institute for Health Information reported an average wait time of nearly 4 hours in Canada. Clearly, there is a big difference in these two countries. The difference is that Canada has a single payer healthcare system, and the US doesn’t.


If the US adopted this system, they would see an increase in wait times, along with a decrease in quality of healthcare. This would not be good for anyone, as most patients would fail to get the care they deserve.


US News, CDC,

5. It will reduce development and enhancement of medicines.

Productivity will reduce since there is no more financial incentive for people to carry out research and develop new medicines. If the government is paying for the health care systems, people will not have the financial motive to do more research, thus we will no longer be increasing in new medicines and we will know less about important diseases.A study done by Auburn University found that 70% of research would be lost with single payer healthcare. “There is basically no point in using single payer healthcare as all it does is harms the medical community,” said Tonia Schwartz.

6. A single payer healthcare system will take choices for healthcare out of the american people and make people have bad health care.

A single payer healthcare will be too expensive like we said in our first assertion. Making it so the government will have to make healthcare worse in america because of budget cuts to doctors and hospitals Like we said in our second assertion. With americans now decision less because there will only be one healthcare people will have to now live with terrible health care. Using common sense judge, what would you rather have a slow bureaucratic healthcare system or a fast and friendly healthcare system. With the government taking control of the healthcare system through this system healthcare is going to turn into the government. This makes everything much slower and less user friendly. If you need assistance with your healthcare the last people you would want is the government helping you. It would take forever for anything to change in healthcare. If people don't want to wait this long for easily done things why are they being forced to by the single payer healthcare system.


In conclusion if the government takes control of our healthcare we would have no choice but the single payer healthcare system which will be extremely slow and bureaucratic.