International healthcare leaders boast of single-payer savings

Single-payer healthcare systems remove quality care barriers that still plague the United States, according to experts from Canada, Denmark and other countries.

The experts testified at a recent Congressional hearing, providing further proof the United States should embrace "Medicare-for-All," Public Citizen announced. They maintained that a Medicare-for-all system would alleviate high administrative costs. 

Administrative costs average 31 percent for the U.S. healthcare system, well above the 1.3 percent administrative costs paid by Canada, Danielle Martin, M.D., vice president of medical affairs and health system solutions at Women's College Hospital in Toronto, Canada, told the Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging.

Addressing concerns about socialized medicine, Martin explained that in Canada, insurance is public and hospitals and providers are private entities. "This is a key feature in our system worth highlighting; given the current structures in American healthcare, I think it is of some salience to your deliberations," she said.

Under the single-payer approach in Denmark, administrative costs account for only 4.3 percent of total healthcare spending. The Danish healthcare system caps copayments for drugs and has no copays for general practice, inpatient or outpatient care, according to the testimony from Jakob Kjellberg, a professor at the Danish Institute for Local and Regional Government Research.

Moreover, a study last summer from the Physicians for a National Health Program found that expanding Medicare to cover every individual would save billions of dollars a year. For example, the single-payer bill introduced by Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), H.R. 676, would save $476 billion in administrative waste found within the private insurance industry, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

But not everyone envisions Medicare for all as the future of healthcare in the United States. To survive amid rising healthcare costs, Florida Blue CEO Pat Geraghty said the answer isn't single payer, but rather developing new partnerships.

For more:
- here's the Public Citizen announcement
- check out the senate hearing

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