Vermont has started Single Payer health care. This article, from 2011, aptly sums it up: Vermont Passes Single-Payer Health Care, World Doesn't End.
Americans have a problem understanding anything that doesn't fit squarely within the Democrat or Republican ideology, and the media ensures the dialog remains polarized. The mass hysteria and confusion over the Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as Obamacare & Romneycare) is a prime example of this.
A recent CNN poll shows that 58% oppose the ACA but that the opposition falls into two camps - 41% think the act is too liberal, and 14% think it isn't liberal enough. So the reality is that 40% back the ACA, and 14% think it doesn't go far enough. That means that 54% either support the ACA, or say it's not liberal enough. There's an overwhelming majority to go beyond the ACA, which is exactly what Vermont has done.
Fortunately, Vermont has Bernie Sanders, an Independent, to go to bat for them in the Senate. His famous quote on the subject is "if you are serious about real healthcare reform, the only way to go is single-payer."
The simplest way of understanding single payer is to think of Medicare extended to everyone. But these resources from Vermont are a really good overview of what it looks like:
Single payer controls costs. A public process determines the level of health spending, and providers are reimbursed at uniform, negotiated rates.
Single payer allows free choice of doctor or hospital.
Single payer savings are used to provide health care to all people as a human right. Patients no longer have to worry if they will be able to afford health care.
- Universal, Comprehensive Coverage
- No out-of-pocket payments
- Free Choice of Providers
- Public Accountability, Not Corporate Dictates
- Ban on For-Profit Health Care Providers
- Protection of the rights of health care and insurance workers