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1. Exploring the Concept of Single Payer-Michael S. Sparer, Lawrence D. Brown, and Lawrence R. Jacobs
2. Single Payers, Multiple Systems: The Scope and Limits of Subnational Variation under a Federal Health Policy Framework-Carolyn Hughes Tuohy
3. The Single-Payer Option: A Reconsideration-Adam Oliver
4. Single Payer—Good Metaphor, Bad Politics-Deborah Stone
5. Gap and Parallel Insurance in Health Care Systems with Mandatory Contributions to a Single Funding Pool for Core Medical and Hospital Benefits for All Citizens in Any Given Geographic Area-Joseph White
6. Single Payer as a Financing Mechanism-Sherry Glied
7. Achieving Horizontal Equity: Must We Have a Single-Payer Health System?-Michael K. Gusmano, Daniel Weisz, and Victor G. Rodwin
8. Quality of Care in Single-Payer and Multipayer Health Systems-Roger Feldman
9. Northern Disclosure: Getting Canada Right-Mark A. Peterson
10. Is the Canadian System Right for the United States?-Colleen M. Flood
11. Persistent Disparities in Access to Care across Health Care Systems-Lynn A. Blewett
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This special issue of the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law explores the concept of single-payer health systems from a number of perspectives. The contributors show that the administration of health care delivery and financing varies across countries, despite a rhetorical tendency to conflate distinct national models of single-payer health care. Many of the articles were originally presented as papers at a 2008 conference hosted by the journal, the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, and the Academic Health Center at the University of Minnesota. This issue also includes thoughtful commentaries by some of the conference participants and by health policy experts on questions such as: Why does the term single-payer generate such fierce and conflicting rhetoric? Even among those willing to support reform, why is a single-payer model so appealing to some and so worrisome to others? Rather than reach definitive conclusions to these questions, the contributors offer an honest and realistic exploration of the concept of single-payer health systems.