All the countries with universal health care are highlighted in green.
Vox answer questions about universal health care here. Long story short, it's possible, but the exact mechanics and outcomes are hard to pin down because the healthcare industry is highly complex.
Single-payer is potentially cheaper than our current health care financing system because government could use its market power to impose lower prices. There are many advantages to such a system. Yet if government squeezes too hard or too indiscriminately, it could cause serious harm. It might also provoke a punishing political backlash from virtually the entire supply side of the medical economy. Rural hospitals on thin margins would be one obvious vulnerable constituency. Veterans, current Medicare recipients, and unionized workers with generous tax-subsidized health plans are three others. Single-payer cannot pass until the interests of such constituencies are addressed.
Critics argue that universal health care is an inefficient way to use money. Consumers would get the most value from reforms and incentives to the health care industry that would make health care more accessible. They point to the fact that many European nations, burdened with debt, are moving towards a US model for healthcare.
But they have not solved the universal and seemingly irresistible problem of rising health care costs. In many cases, attempts to control costs through governmental fiat have led to problems with access to care, either delays in receiving care or outright rationing.
In wrestling with this dilemma, many countries are loosening government controls and injecting market mechanisms, particularly cost-sharing by patients, market pricing of goods and services, and increased competition among insurers and providers. As Pat Cox, former president of the European Parliament, put it in a report to the European Commission, we should start to explore the power of the market as a way of achieving much better value for money?
World Bank president Jim Yong Kim argues that the problems the health care industry face today are symptoms of a larger problem. The system does not work as it is built, and unfairly distributes costs and gains. Implementing a universal health care would allow for the government to restructure how health care works for everyone's benefit.
Many of the problems facing emerging markets are similar to those in high-income countries but the solutions are not. Providing effective universal health coverage systems requires countries to develop new models of healthcare delivery and financing to adapt to changing needs. But the rewards are great. They will increase the health and wellbeing of people and provide a more secure and prosperous economic future.