Lives at Risk

Single-Payer National Health Insurance around the World

Books | Health

Friday, August 13, 2004
by John C. Goodman, Gerald L. Musgrave, and Devon M. Herrick

As we move further into the twenty-first century, it is clear that we are living with a number of institutions that were not designed for the Information Age. One of those institutions is health care.

Virtually everyone agrees that our health care system needs reform. But what kind of reform? Some on the right would like to see us return to the type of system that prevailed in the 1950s. Some on the left would like to see us copy one of the government-run systems established in the mid-twentieth century and variously called socialized medicine, national health insurance and, more recently, single-payer health insurance. For example, Physicians for a National Health Program, claiming membership of 8,000 physicians and medical students, contends that "single-payer national health insurance would resolve virtually all of the major problems facing America's health care system today."

We believe that neither of these two alternatives will work. But before we explain why, let us stop to consider some central problems that every reform faces.

The complete book: (PDF | 5MB)

Book by section:


Part I: Twenty Myths

Chapter 1 - Rights

Chapter 2 - Equality

Chapter 3 - Needs

Chapter 4 - Outcomes

Chapter 5 - Technology

Chapter 6 - Quality

Chapter 7 - Costs

Chapter 8 - Efficiency

Chapter 9 - Unnecessary Care

Chapter 10 - Administrative Costs

Chapter 11 - Priorities

Chapter 12 - Prevention

Chapter 13 - Managed Care

Chapter 14 - International Competitiveness

Chapter 15 - The Elderly

Chapter 16 - Minorities

Chapter 17 - Rural Areas

Chapter 18 - Prescription Drugs

Chapter 19 - Public Opinion

Chapter 20 - Reform

Part II The Politics and Economics of Health Care Systems

Chapter 21 - The Politics of Medicine

Chapter 22 - Is Managed Competition the Answer?

Part III Reforming the U.S. Health Care System

Chapter 23 - Designing an Ideal Health Care System

Chapter 24 - Designing Ideal Health Insurance


About the Authors