The Single-Payer Plan
The single-payer plan, modeled on Canada's system, is designed to slow rising health-care costs and would be financed through higher taxes. Under the "Canadian alternative":
* The federal government would take over the financing of all health care.
* Private insurance would be rare.
* The federal government would disperse funds to the states.
* States would administer their own programs, setting an overall budget for hospitals, health-maintenance organizations (HMOs) and clinics, and negotiating fees with doctors.
* Everyone in the United States who wanted to would be enrolled in the system, including those on Medicare, Medicaid, and the Indian Health Service, which would be eliminated.
* Benefits would be increased to include dental, long-term care, mental health, and drugs.
* There would be no co-payments or deductibles.
* Doctors would simply stamp health cards carried by patients and send a standard bill to the state entity that would administer the program.