Regarding the recent Survey of ACEP Councillors and the question about the single payer health care system [June 2014], the response percentage may have been influenced by the definition of a “single payer system.” I have found in my discussions with people that there is often confusion regarding single payer systems and universal health coverage. These two terms are not synonymous. Universal health coverage refers to the number of people being covered by health care, single payer refers to a health payment mechanism. There are some countries with a single payer system, usually by a government, but that for various reasons do not have universal coverage. Other countries do not have a single payer system, but have universal coverage, such as some European countries where there is a combination of government programs and private insurance companies. Some countries do have universal coverage with a single payer system.
–Helmut Meisl, MD, FACEP