A Physicians’ Proposal for Single-Payer Health Care Reform

Beyond the Affordable Care Act

Physicians for a National Health Program, May 5, 2016
by Drs. Adam Gaffney, Steffie Woolhandler, Marcia Angell, and David Himmelstein

The Physicians’ Proposal for Single-Payer Health Reform was drafted by a working group of 39 physicians and has been endorsed by more than 2,231 other physicians and 149 medical students. The most important feature of the Physicians’ Proposal is the removal of all financial barriers to medical care. The plan would save enough on administrative overhead to provide comprehensive coverage to the uninsured and to upgrade coverage for everyone else, thus requiring no increase in total health spending. In addition, it would put in place effective mechanisms to control costs, lowering the rate of medical inflation and making the health system sustainable for future generations. Significantly, it would restore free choice of clinician and hospital to all Americans.

Every resident of the U.S., including all immigrants, would be covered for all necessary medical care. Patients would receive a National Health Program (NHP) card entitling them to care at any hospital or doctor’s office. Medical bills for covered services would generally be eliminated, although the NHP might seek reimbursement from other national health insurance systems for care provided to tourists who fall ill while visiting the U.S.