Universal care policies cover a range of proposals that include single-payer government-funded models as well as models that mandate coverage, but with provisions for covering some or all the costs for low-income consumers. Hybrid models exist that combine elements of both. These models feature a range of elements. In addition to the government playing a significant role in expanding access and setting standards, some common features include:
- Addressing overall out-of-pocket consumer costs for copays, premiums, or deductibles for receiving service.
- Capping of prescription drug costs for all consumers.
- Expansions of covered health services include mental health, dental, hearing, substance abuse treatment, vision, prescription drugs, reproductive health, and home and community-based long-term care.
Case for Equity
Health care disparities can be found in the United States with respect to geography (rural vs metro), race, gender, and income (Caldwell et al 2016). Rural Americans have a life expectancy of 76.7 years compared to 79.1 years for those living in metropolitan communities (Singh et al 2014). In addition to lower life expectancy, Black Americans suffer from a higher prevalence of conditions like heart disease and hypertension, and higher infant mortality compared to white Americans (Cigna 2016). Similarly, Hispanic Americans have higher rates of chronic disease and less access to care in the US. Achieving a more equitable system would address all these disparities and ensure that no American’s health and longevity are limited because of where they live, the color of their skin, or how much money they earn.
Return on Investment
Return on Investment for this policy is rated as being HIGH.
Research Base The research base is rated as being MEDIUM.
State & Local Ease of Implementation
This policy is rated as having a HARD level of implementation difficulty