Single Payer: A Creative Improvement To Health Insurance

As soon as the Republicans took over the American government last November, (House, Senate, and Presidency), the Republicans started to attempt to dismantle the successful Obamacare Health Insurance system.

Disillusion, however, came quickly, and people discoveredx new words to describe the approach, from dismantle, remove, and repeal to repair and replace, and numerous citizens and companies spoke out against doing anything to the health care law until a decent replacement was developed.

Here are some headlines reprinted in the February 9/2017 edition of the Washington Post’s Daily 202:

• McClatchy’s Washington Bureau: “Repealing Obamacare would kill millions of jobs nationwide.

• CNBC: “Obamacare repeal could crush your retiree medical costs.”

• USA Today: “Hospitals would face higher charity costs without Obamacare.

• USA Today: “Hospitals would face higher charity costs without Obamacare.

• Kaiser Health News (which is picked up by a lot of newspapers): “Hospitals Worry Repeal Of Obamacare Would Jeopardize Innovations In Care.

• NPR: “Obamacare Helped The Homeless, Who Now Worry About Coverage Repeal.

• Los Angeles Times: “Trump’s actions on Obamacare threaten to undermine insurance markets.

• Charlotte Observer: “ACA repeal could cost Mecklenberg and North Carolina millions in health funding.”

• Richmond Times-Dispatch: “Virginia could lose $20 million in public health funds with ACA repeal.

• Register-Herald of Beckley, West Virginia: “West Virginia to be second most affected state with ACA repeal.

Arizona Republic editorial board has been calling on the GOP to not repeal the law until there is a replacement in place.

The zeal for removal has now been replaced with caution. It is time to consider a creative departure from words that start with ‘re’ (replace, remove, repeal, etc.) and try a word that starts with ‘im’  — improve.

I hope that most Americans can see the value in improving, not removing, the health care law. Here is one improvement I can think of with relish: Single Payer.

Single Payer stands for a simplified universal health care insurance system where the government, not insurance companies, insures and pays the costs of health care, as occurs in other countries in the western world.

(For a detailed description of Single Payer, see Wikipedia (

Why do this in America?

Here is one very good reason. Overhead costs are simplified and greatly reduced when the government insures and pays all costs.

As an example, consider in America the overhead cost for Medicare (government paid universal health insurance costs for all people over 65) is about 3%, while the overhead costs of insurance companies are about 30%, about ten times higher.

Although it seems unlikely that Single Payer will get adopted now, it may gain some traction in the future. American taxpayers would benefit greatly with a simplified comprehensive Single Payer universal health insurance system.

Enough said here.

It is time to respect the Obamacare health insurance system with a carefully thought out Single Payer system for all Americans, a universal Medicare for all.

Or perhaps you have a different way to improve health care insurance in America?

©2017 by Ed Glassman, PH.D.


He was a Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and founded the Program For Team Excellence And Creativity at the university. He was a ‘Guggenheim Foundation Fellow’ at Stanford University, a ‘Visiting Fellow’ at the Center For Creative Leadership in Greensboro, NC, a ‘Visiting Professor’ at the University Of California at Irvine, and a ‘Visiting Scientist’ at SRI International in Palo Alto, California.

About the Author
Ed Glassman, Ph.D., is professor emeritus and former head of the "Program for Team Effectiveness and Creativity," in the medical school of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was also a visiting fellow at the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, North Carolina.