The Morality of a Single Payer Health Care System


Arguments for ambiguous “single payer” plans are meaningless. Advocates dismiss any legitimate criticism with “our plan won’t do that” while never explaining exactly what their plan will do.

Only when advocates define their single payer plan’s specific details can that plan’s morality be critically debated.

In the absence of specifics, advocates on this thread often cite “like the Canadian” plan as their gold standard. But Canada’s system (which includes coverage for abortions expanded coverage in 2017 to include euthanasia. The Canadian Catholic Conference of Bishops(CCCB) condemned the new law. Further, to offset the US denial of federal funds internationally for abortion, the Canadians passed legislation to increase their funding in the same amount. The CCCB condemned the law as well.

Hopefully, these facts will dismiss “like Canada” as our single payer advocate’s gold standard. Can single payer advocates cite any existing single payer scheme that is deemed moral by Catholic bishops? I think not.

Euthanasia could save Canada millions in healthcare costs

Statement on Assisted Suicide

Letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau from CCCB President Bishop Douglas Crosby


Advocates of single payer here have been saying what the plan “will” do, namely cut a check to the doctor you choose for services rendered. It would essentially be a giant insurance company.

As for abortion, there is no reason that abortion must be covered by such a plan. That is where political muscle must be utilized to prevent the system from implementing grave evil. It doesn’t make the system evil, however, because abortion is merely an option provided by “healthcare” providers that gets paid for by the system; a single-payer system could deny abortion coverage and still function just as well.

That we live in a country that has legally enshrined the right to abortion has no direct bearing on the nature of single-payer health systems. Such a system would deal with abortion because it is protected by law, just as the police must protect abortion clinics, but things could just as easily be reversed if the legal status of abortion changed.


A single-payer system is, essentially, Medicare for all.

I imagine you don’t need an explanation about what exactly Medicare does.

Do you find Medicare to be unethical?

Because people are more familiar with it than others. But I’m not married to using Canada as an example. If you’d like to use the Swiss or Taiwan, I’m happy to do so.

As to the CCCB, I’m not super-surprised. It’s not surprising that a secular government passed a law that a particular segment of a particular faith group didn’t like. Kinda goes with secular governance, imo.
But I’d avoid the all-or-nothing approach you imply. In democracy, that generally translates to “nothing”.


I can understand someone saying we need medicare for all. I can understand someone saying we need medicare for none. What makes zero sense is that we need medicare for some. Either it is important for everyone or it is important for nobody.


How do you propose financing for 320 million a plan whose Trustees already warn has serious funding shortfalls for only 70 million? Somebody has to pay for this crazy “free lunch” scam.

The Swiss plan, which is more akin to Medicaid, pays only 31% of healthcare costs. We already have Medicaid. Expand that program.

Easy words from one who was not murdered in the womb. If “nothing” is no abortions then “nothing” is the correct Catholic moral position.


The money’s already there. We pay more, per capita, on healthcare than these “free lunch scam” countries that have already implemented a single-payer system.

When the single-payer system passes in America (and brace yourself, it is coming), I’m very confident that it will not fund any abortion-related activity when we successfully make abortion illegal in this country.


So, why has our Congress and our unions exempted themselves from ACA / ObamaCare?


They didn’t. They had to buy insurance on the exchanges, either from Washington D.C. or their own state’s.

Besides, ACA is absolutely nothing like single-payer.


Jenny Beth Martin: ANALYSIS/OPINION:
With a single new tweet, President Trump set official Washington abuzz Saturday afternoon: “If a new Health Care Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for members of Congress will end very soon!”

While most Democrats and the media - but I repeat myself - wailed publicly about the first phrase of that tweet, reading it to mean the president was threatening to cut off the billions of dollars in illegal “cost-sharing reduction” payments to insurance companies, many members of Congress of both parties recognized the more ominous implied threat inherent in the second phrase - an end to Congress‘ illegal gravy train of subsidies to pay for their health care premiums.

The president is referring, of course, to the illegal employer subsidies - valued at roughly $6,000 for an individual policy, and $12,000 for a family policy - paid to the approximately 12,000 members and staff who purchase their health care insurance on the District of Columbia small business exchange.

These subsidy payments are a direct violation of not just the spirit, but the letter of the Affordable Care Act, which required Members and their staffs to leave their generous Federal Employee Health Benefit Program plans and instead purchase their health insurance through the Obamacare exchanges.

They receive these subsidy payments only as the result of a conspiracy and a subterfuge - acting at the behest of congressional leaders of both parties and then-President Obama, two unknown congressional officials fraudulently signed paperwork declaring Congress to be a “small business” that employs fewer than 50 people, so members of Congress and their staffs could purchase their insurance on the D.C. small business exchange (where employers are allowed to provide a subsidy toward the purchase of insurance), rather than an individual exchange (where subsidy payments are not allowed).

This subterfuge exempts Congress and its staff from being treated under the law the way everyone else in the country who is required to purchase insurance on the Obamacare exchanges is treated.

In this area, Congress, working with then-President Obama, has literally set itself above the law. In this sense, it has exempted itself from the law.

In my years of activism with the tea party, I can think of no other issue that so infuriates grassroots activists.

In fact, in my years of activism with the tea party, I can think of no better issue that unites liberals, moderates, and conservatives. We may disagree about Obamacare - but we all agree that this illegal exemption is wrong.

What makes America different from every other country, we believe, is that in America, no one is above the law. Yet here, on this most odious of laws, Congress and President Obama acted in concert to set two different standards of treatment - Congress and its staff would be exempt from what was required of them under the law, while everyone else would be held to a higher (and more expensive) standard.

In my years of activism with the tea party, I can think of no other issue on which there have been so many lies told by members of Congress and their staffs.


Tea Party Patriots activists have been calling congressional offices for years, inquiring as to whether or not individual members have followed the letter of the law. They have regularly been told it is “untrue” that Congress is exempt from the law, that this entire line of reasoning is “crazy,” “made up,” “lies,” etc.

But now President Trump is considering whether or not he should, with a simple directive to the Office of Personnel Management, overturn the illegal special exemption. And Tea Party Patriots supporters are calling the White House at (202) 456-1414 and urging the president to remove Congress‘ illegal special exemption. Many are getting full mailboxes when they make phone calls so in addition to the calls, they are leaving emails through

Based on his Saturday tweet, President Trump is thinking of overturning the illegal special exemption as an added inducement to Congress, so that they’ll be more personally incentivized to continue working to repeal Obamacare.

That’s a fine corollary benefit of overturning the illegal exemption. If members of Congress truly won’t see the light until they feel the heat, making them pay for their healthcare the way the rest of those required to purchase insurance on the individual exchanges do would certainly raise the temperature.

But, more importantly, the president should repeal that illegal special exemption, simply on rule of law grounds, to remove Congress‘ distinction as a class above the regular citizenry.

And he should remove that exemption now, effective as soon as possible, so that even if Congress were somehow to find a way to move a repeal bill to his desk that contained a two- or three-year phase-out of Obamacare, members of Congress and their staffs would have to give up their illegal special exemption now and ride out the next two or three years as they should have been all along.

This is not a hard one for the president. He has the power to erase Congress‘ special treatment, and put Congress back on the same level as the rest of America. He doesn’t need congressional action; he can do it himself.

And he should.


The money’s already there? So, no tax increases, huh? Or, are you saying that the money I now choose to purchase healthcare will be confiscated by government to pay for my healthcare FOR me, without my choices involved?

Interesting. Whatever happened to “women’s rights are human rights”?
Your claim here is no more believable than the claim that gowont interfere in my healthcare when it’s single payer



Where is “there”? If “there” is the US Treasury, the answer is, “No, the money is not.” If “there” is in the pockets of citizens then how do you propose to move that money to the Treasury? Do single payer advocates plan on lying to the voters again? Obama: “We’re going to lower your premiums by up to $2500 per family per year.”

I’m not so confident; neither are our bishops. If changes to health insurance do not provide guarantees that federal funds will not go to abortionists then concerned Catholics ought not support such a bill.

When abortion is once again illegal, talk to us about single payer. Or do “single payer now” advocates crassly say sacrificing those murdered children is a price they are willing to pay to get their way.


If people are denied coverage when they are paying for it, that’s a break of contract and why we have the courts, though I think it may be a good idea to have laws that say they can’t do this.

The free market only works if people honor their contracts.

But it is better. The problem is we haven’t had a real free market in health care for some time—decades, really, thanks to tort law.


If you choose not to avail yourself of the benefits of single payer insurance you can’t blame anyone but yourself. By “the money is there” we mean that money is already being spent on health care in excess of what it should be, given what other countries are able to do with less money. So if we all contribute to the plan, there is every reason to believe that our total outlay will be less than what it is now, again just by judging what other countries have been able to accomplish.


At the time someone is applying for insurance, there is no contract yet. So there is no contract that can be broken. The insurance companies or health associations simply refuse to form a contract with that person. That is not what I call a working health care system. But it is the best you can do if you insist that it be handled through the free market only.

  1. Refusing to enter a contract is everyone’s right in a free society.

  2. I was quite clearly talking about people who were already paying. A payment is in effect a contract.


I hope not. I hope that unlike the ACA, a true single payer system will be presented by clearly stating that the money that you would have spent on health care and health insurance will now be collected as a tax from which the coverage will be provided.


Again, you are suggesting the taking my money and my right to healthcare out of my hands and placing it in the hands of an authoritarian system that decides what healthcare I should get and when, then suggesting I should be okay with such tyranny. And if I don’t like it, I have to take more of my money to get the healthcare I think I or my family needs.
Thanks, I feel so much better now that you’ve explained it. :roll_eyes:

If we all contribute to the plan? Well, at least you’re honest about it. Many progressives are claiming that the “rich” will pay for it. But you are correct, those in the third and fourth lowest quintile of income earners will have to pay more, a lot more in taxes for the privilege of government dictated healthcare.
In other words, you will no longer control your money regarding your healthcare. Government will take your money at gun point and dictate that to you.


Isaiah 10:1-4

"“Woe unto you who legislates evil, who makes laws that makes victims. Laws that make misery for the poor, that rob my destitute people of dignity. What will you have to say on Judgement Day, what good will all your money do you then?”


The issue with healthcare is that you can’t really decide to go without. If no one will sell me car insurance, I can find a way to go without a car. If no one will sell me health insurance (or if, as with many high-risk plans, I can’t afford it), then…what happens? If it’s someone like me, I quit working and go on welfare because without proper regular maintenance treatment I can’t hold down a job.

Usually too I don’t get much choice. My employer offers one healthcare plan - I don’t get to pick a different one, and changing jobs is nice in theory but I’ve been in plenty of situations where “any job that pays the bills” is hard enough to come by. Outside of employer healthcare, a private insurance company isn’t going to contract with me, and medishare type groups are going to turn me down - or they’re going to only offer a contract in such a way that it doesn’t much help me. That doesn’t leave a whole lot of options.

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