Sanders' Medicare Plan Could Cost $32.6 Trillion

Bernie Sander’s ‘Medicare For All’ Would Cost $32.6 Trillion, Study Projects

America Can Get Ocasio-Cortez’s and Bernie's ‘Medicare for All’ Plan for the Low Price of $32 Trillion

The author behind the paper, Charles Blahous, predicts that Sanders' health care strategy will end up costing Americans nearly $33 trillion. In fact, a study of Sanders' 2016 plan by the left-leaning Urban Institute found that it would also cost the federal government $32 trillion over a decade.

Josh Miller-Lewis, Sanders's press secretary, said the additional $32 trillion is already being spent by private insurers, and the Medicare-for-All plan would simply move the money to the government. Doubling federal individual and corporate income tax receipts would not cover the full cost, the study said.

"Enacting something like "Medicare for all" would be a transformative change in the size of the federal government", said Charles Blahous.

In other words, according to the analysis, Bernie Sanders' health care plan would cost the country about the same in aggregate as the current system, while covering the entire population.

Sanders' plan builds on Medicare, the popular insurance program for seniors. Blahous was a senior economic adviser to former President George W. Bush and a public trustee of Social Security and Medicare during the Obama administration.

At first glance, it is odd that the Mercatus Center, which is libertarian in its orientation and heavily funded by the libertarian Koch family, would publish a report this positive about Medicare for All.

Responding to the study, Sanders took aim at the Mercatus Center, which receives funding from the conservative Koch brothers.

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The analysis by Charles Blahous of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University says that federal spending under a universal, single-payer system would equal roughly 10.7 percent of GDP in 2022, rising to 12.7 percent by 2031.

Paying for such a system would require a historic increase in taxes - and Blahous writes that "doubling of all now projected federal individual and corporate income tax collections would be insufficient to finance the added federal costs of the plan". Blahous corrected it, reducing his estimate by about $3 trillion over 10 years.

What that translates to is what Medicare for All advocates have been saying all along: Under a single-payer system, Americans would get more quality care for more people at less cost.

As Sanders said Monday in response to the Mercatus study, "If every major country on Earth can guarantee healthcare to all, and achieve better health outcomes, while spending substantially less per capita than we do, it is absurd for anyone to suggest that the United States cannot do the same". Even if Democrats manage to take control of both the House and Senate, a narrow majority with a Republican in the White House would make it hard to enact this kind of legislation.

So while the price tag for the federal government would increase, the total cost of healthcare would go down while also providing healthcare to more than 30 million uninsured Americans.

The aforementioned estimates assume that the legislation meets its goals of reducing payments to health providers and reducing both drug prices and administrative costs.

But other provisions would tend to drive up spending, including coverage for almost 30 million uninsured people, no deductibles and copays, and improved benefits, including dental, vision and hearing. He assumes administrative costs will only drop from 13 percent to 6 percent for those now privately insured.

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