Myths and Memes About Single-Payer Health Iinsurance in the United States: A Rebutal to Conservative Claims

By John P. Geyman
International Journal of Health Services
Vol. 35, Num. 1, Pages 63-90, 2005

Recent years have seen the rapid growth of private think tanks within the neoconservative movement that conduct "policy research" biased to their own agenda. This article provides an evidence-based rebuttal to a 2002 report by one such think tank, the Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA), which was intended to discredit 20 alleged myths about single-payer national health insurance as a policy option for the United States. Eleven "myths" are rebutted under eight categories: access, cost containment, quality, efficiency, single-payer as solution, control of drug prices, ability to compete abroad (the "business case"), and public support for a single-payer system. Six memes (self-replicating ideas that are promulgated without regard to their merits) are identified in the NCPA report. Myths and memes should have no place in the national debate now underway over the future of a failing health care system, and need to be recognized as such and countered by experience and unbiased evidence.

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