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Can anybody explain to me what "Single Payer Option" and "Public Option" are? I keep hearing about them in relation to health care reform, but nobody has ever mentioned what they actually are. Are they just political buzzwords to get behind? Do they actually have meaning? Am I hearing voices in my head? Little help here, guys? Also, I suppose this can be used to discuss them, if you care to.

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In a single payer system there is only one health insurer - the government or a corporation contracted by the government. The idea of a public option is to have the government operate as an insurer in the market with the private insurers. Generally offering worse coverage, but at a substantially better price and without a lot of the limitations imposed by private insurers.

Single payer systems have a number of benefits. Such as streamlining the work of physicians substantially and removing a large number of clinic, physician, and hospital related restrictions that private companies have. That said, they're more expensive to operate for the average person because you're paying into it regardless of using it or not. General consumption of medical resources also increases (Arguably good or bad by the situation).

Public insurance also has benefits. Namely that insurance on some level is affordable to most everyone without damaging the private market. Generally those under the public insurance options will also be able to seek care at most any facility with any physician just like in a single payer system. As an added benefit people can stack the affordable public coverage with their private coverage, allowing those who can afford both a great deal of flexibility based on the treatment they need.

That's the general gist at any rate.

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Thanks, man. Of course, now I can't decide which I think is better...

Personally I like a single-payer system, but then again that's what we have up here (In essence. It's a part, n ot the whole thing). The cost is there, but it's entirely hidden in taxes. It's comforting if something is wrong with me that I can just go and get it checked out. Whether I goto a walk-in clinic, a medical center, a hospital, or a specialist I won't see hide or hair of a bill and regardless of what's wrong with me or where I am in the country I can go wherever is convenient or desired for treatment.

There are downsides, but a lot of the complaints stem from people not understanding how to utilize the system.

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I know it'll never happen, but I want the Canadian style one. I'm the type that waits until it's damn near an emergency to go to the doctor. By the time I go, that last fucking thing I want to deal with is stupid insurance paperwork. If I'm already in pain and pissed off, making me fill out reams of paper is just making me more pissed off.

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I know it'll never happen, but I want the Canadian style one. I'm the type that waits until it's damn near an emergency to go to the doctor. By the time I go, that last fucking thing I want to deal with is stupid insurance paperwork. If I'm already in pain and pissed off, making me fill out reams of paper is just making me more pissed off.

Also, arthritis.

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