Will an All-Payer System Lower Health Care Costs?

“It’s the prices, stupid.” This has been a leading critique of the U.S. health care system since 2003, when a major study found its prices higher than those in other developed nations. The study found that even though the United States spends a considerable amount of its gross domestic product on health care, its population consumes fewer health care services than other developed nations. In a new study, the authors of the 2003 study have confirmed that this disparity in prices still persists. Many Americans are concerned about the rising costs of health care. Recent proposals from the political left for a single-payer system—often called “Medicare for all”—not only propose to expand access to health care coverage, but also control the prices of health care through a federal system of rate-setting. The prospect of a single-payer health care system has proven divisive, not just between the political left and right, but among members of…

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