Q: Is a national health plan or one-payer system socialized medicine?
A:This question comes up frequently and deserves clarification.
Socialized medicine is a system of health care in which all health personnel and health facilities, including doctors and hospitals, work for the government and draw salaries from the government. Doctors in the US Veterans Administration and the Armed Services are paid this way. And the Veterans and US military hospitals are also supported this way.
National health—for example, Medicare—is not socialized medicine. People with Medicare cards can pretty much choose their doctors and their hospitals. Those seniors belonging to HMOs have more restrictions. Their physicians accept Medicare rates but are independent practitioners and are not employed by the Government. There is much misinformation relating to single payer or national health being socialized medicine. This would not the case in the U.S. if a national health plan for all were enacted. Medicare is a prime example of National Health insurance.
It is important to note that administrative costs are drastically reduced in Medicare as well as fragmentation and inconsistencies in coverage. Medicare is a very efficient system providing health care services and is not socialized medicine.
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