Single Payer - Socialized Medicine

A health insurance system in which, as the name implies, a single government entity (typically the U.S. federal government) manages the financing of healthcare delivery to all its citizens. This contrasts with the traditional U.S. insurance model, in which private insurers cover healthcare costs in specific geographic areas, often competing for the opportunity to do so.

Advocates and opponents of single-payer systems often use alternative terms to emphasize the key benefit or threat in the system. Many in favor of single payer call it Medicare for all, using a well-known, popular federal program to communicate the single-payer model in simple terms.

Opponents, in contrast, use socialized medicine to emphasize what they see as undue, and unnecessary, government control over healthcare delivery. (Some, however, distinguish the two terms, with socialized medicine encompassing the actual delivery as well as the financing of health care services.)