Thursday, May 16, 2013

Fwd: qotd: Redistributive function of Canada's single payer

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-------- Original Message --------
Subject: qotd: Redistributive function of Canada's single payer
Date: Thu, 16 May 2013 12:38:40 -0700
From: Don McCanne <>
To: Quote-of-the-Day <>

Canadian Institute for Health Information
May 2013
Publicly Financed Health Care in Canada: Who Pays and Who Benefits Over
a Lifetime?


All Canadian taxpayers contribute to publicly financed health care,
regardless of their use of the system. Publicly funded health care
services are available to all on the basis of need, regardless of
ability to pay. When we look at the relationship over a lifetime, only
the most affluent (the top 20%) contribute significantly more to health
care than they receive. For other income groups, the value received from
publicly funded health care is approximately the same as or more than
the value of taxes paid to fund those services. The redistributive
effect of publicly funded health care in Canada is a 16% reduction in
the income gap between the highest- and lowest-income groups. Without
the publicly financed health system, the lowest-income Canadians would
be at risk of going without needed health care or of being impoverished
by paying for it.

Comment: This report from Canada demonstrates one of the more important
functions of a well designed single payer system. To ensure access while
preventing impoverishment, financing must be redistributive, because
health care costs are unaffordable for moderate and low income
individuals and families. Not only does the redistributive financing
ensure universal access, it also ameliorates, to a limited extent, the
impact of the worsening Gini coefficient (measure of income inequality).

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