According to a university-based libertarian policy center, Sen. Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for all” plan would cost the federal government $32.6 trillion in additional health care expenditures over ten years.
That’s trillion with a “T.”
According to the analysis being released this week by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Virginia, the latest proposal from Vermont’s independent would require historic tax hikes as government replaces what employers and consumers currently pay for health care. It would save money on administration and medication costs, but increased demand for healthcare would raise spending, according to the study.
Medicare, the popular insurance program for seniors, would be expanded under Sanders’ proposal. All Americans would be covered without any copays or deductibles for medical treatments. The insurance business would take a minor role in the system.
“Enacting something like ‘Medicare for all’ would be a huge transformation in the size of the federal government,” Blahous explained. During the Obama administration, Blahous served as a senior economic adviser to former Pres. George W. Bush and was a public trustee of Medicare and Social Security.
In response, Sanders criticized the Mercatus Center, which receives money from the conservative Koch brothers. Charles Koch, the CEO of Koch Industries, is on the board of the center.
“It is absurd for anyone to claim that the United States cannot achieve the same if every major country in the world can guarantee health care to everyone and get better health outcomes while spending far less per capita than we do,” Sanders added in a statement. “This grossly dishonest and one-sided study is the Koch brothers’ reaction to growing public support for a “Medicare for all” system.”
According to a spokesperson, Sanders’ staff has not conducted a cost analysis. However, the Mercatus predictions are comparable to other cost estimates for Sanders’ 2016 plan.
Sanders’ team discovered an error in the original version of the Mercatus study, which recorded a long-term care program that was included in the 2016 proposal but not in the final one. Blahous adjusted it, reducing his projection by about $3 trillion over ten years. The report is written by Blahous himself, not the Koch brothers.
Medicare for all, also known as “single-payer,” is a term that has been used to describe a government-run healthcare system that would provide coverage to everyone in the United States.
After accounting for current government health care financing, the research projected that increasing all federal individual and corporate income taxes by two times would not be enough to cover the additional expenditures.