Books & Papers

Single-Payer Health Care for Maryland
Two Analyses
Dated: 13 May 2008
Ian Munro

There are any number of adages that could be applied to the oft compared Canadian and US health care systems, but two come quickly to mind after reading this analysis - "Be careful what you wish for" and "The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence".

Single-Payer Health Care for Maryland: Two Analyses responds to a bill proposed by State Delegate Karen S. Montgomery (D-Montgomery) in the recently ended session of the Maryland General Assembly. The paper evaluates Montgomery's proposal and addresses the flaws in a statewide universal health care system including the high cost to the state budget that would inevitably lead to rationing of services by government officials. Single-Payer also issues strong warnings to Maryland from Canadians living under a single-payer system.

The Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS) of Halifax, Nova Scotia and the Maryland Public Policy Institute of Rockville, Maryland partnered in this joint evaluation of the proposal for a universal health care system in Maryland, providing both a Canadian and American prospective.

"Despite some Americans' misconceptions, Canada's health care system is not the envy of the world," said Ian Munro, Director of Research at AIMS and one of the study's authors. "Canada's single-payer system fuses the functions of universal insurer, provider, and evaluator of health care. The results are waiting lists, inaccessible drugs and services, and burgeoning medical tourism as people flee Canada to get services in the U.S. and elsewhere. Marylanders who hold up the Canadian health care system as the answer to their problems should be very careful in what they wish for."

Marc Kilmer, senior fellow at the Maryland Public Policy Institute, and the study's other author states, "Single-payer advocates correctly diagnose that there is a problem in our health care system. Their prescription for change would only make the disease worse, however. Maryland health care consumers would benefit from much less government interference in the health care market. Turning over all our health care choices to government bureaucrats will only result in much higher taxes and less access to care."

Founded in 2001, the Maryland Public Policy Institute is a nonpartisan public policy research and education organization that focuses on state policy issues. The Maryland Public Policy Institute's work can be found on the Internet at www.mdpolicy.org.

The Atlantic Institute for Market Studies is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit, social and economic policy think tank based in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

To read the complete paper, click here.