Photo credit: Alex E. Proimos / Foter.com / CC BYPhoto credit: Alex E. Proimos / Foter.com / CC BYRather than push for a government-run, single-payer system—what liberals often term “Medicare for all”—some left-leaning health experts are talking up a technocratic alternative known as all-payer: Instead of the federal government serving as a universal insurer, as in single payer, the government would set payment rates for the entire system, public and private, eliminating price discrepancies for different payers.

In other words, price controls. This is the great new idea that has gripped liberal health wonks as health costs have continued to rise: to simply have the government declare that prices must be lower. But in reality, writes Senior Editor Peter Suderman, it’s neither a new idea nor a particularly great one, and there’s little reason to think it will result in meaningful restraint of health care cost growth.