Health Care is a Human Right: The need for a single payer system

A universal single payer healthcare system guarantees quality health care for everyone. While providers of healthcare remain private, the system of paying for it becomes public, much like Medicare and Social Security. A single, non-profit government insurer would take on some of the roles of the many current profit-seeking health insurance companies.

The problem

There are thousands of people in Maine who are currently uninsured or under insured. Healthcare is the number one cause of bankruptcy in America, and part of the reason for the high cost of healthcare is lack of access to affordable preventative care. At the same time, private health insurance companies make billions of dollars in profit each year. 

Why Pass it

1.       Health care is a human right. The United States is the only industrialized nation that doesn’t recognize this and ensure universal care. 

2.     The U.S. has one of the most expensive health care systems in the world and Maine’s healthcare costs are one of the highest in the nation. If everyone has preventative and primary care, the need for expensive critical and emergency care would be greatly reduced. Public health care systems (like Medicare and Medicaid) have proven track records of eliminating the costs of profit margins and greatly reducing administrative overhead. 

3.  Universal health care would eliminate the single largest cause of personal bankruptcy and would eliminate the single largest barrier dissuading would-be entrepreneurs from starting new businesses.

Addressing Common Concerns

 Healthcare is not like other insurance markets. Everyone will need to access care at some point; in fact their lives may depend on it. Unlike every other market, the companies supplying the product currently are allowed to deny their product to consumers if they decide these consumers will cost too much to cover. Private companies shouldn’t be allowed to make a profit by putting people’s lives at risk.

In 2002, the state of Maine commissioned a study that demonstrated single payer would actually save the state money—and this was before the passage of Affordable Care Act subsidies that already make health care more affordable.  More recently in Vermont, Dr. Hsiao’s report found health care cost savings of between 16-25%, or as much as $1.6 billion by 2024. 

In our current, private system, insurance companies dictate to doctors what services they can provide, what drugs they can provide, and even how much time they can spend with each patient.  Insurance companies make decisions about what to cover and what to deny based on the motive to make as much profit as possible.  This is the worst form of rationing of care: by what most profits insurers.  

Sources and Links to more information:

•Maine Mathematica Study, 2002

•Dr. Hsiao’s study for Vermont, 2011

•Vermont Worker’s Center:

•Physicians for a National Health Plan:

•National Economic and Social Rights Initiative: