'Medicare for all' projected to cost $32.6 trillion

Leslie Hanson
August 2, 2018

If Americans double all corporate and individual federal income taxes, they would still fail to pay for Sanders' plan.

"The Urban Institute, which is left-of-center, also found that the Sanders plan would cost $32 trillion", he said, referring to the group's 2016 report concluding then-presidential-candidate Sanders's plan would have increased federal expenditures by $32 trillion between 2017 and 2026.

"I suspect that that is not what the Koch brothers meant to do, but that is what is in the study", Sanders said of the projected savings.

According to an analysis by David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler viewed by The Intercept's Ryan Grim and Zaid Jilani, the Mercatus Center's "report undercounts administrative savings by more than $8.3 trillion over 10 years. Bernie Sanders' Medicare for All Act projects outlandish increases in the utilization of medical care, ignores vast savings under single-payer reform, and fails to even mention the extensive and well-documented evidence on single-payer systems in other nations-which all spend far less per person on health care than we do", Himmelstein and Woolhandler said.

"I would never have expected the Mercatus Center to produce a document that claims extending Medicare to the entire population is the proverbial $20 bill lying on the sidewalk. This grossly misleading and biased report is the Koch brothers response to the growing support in our country for a "Medicare for all" program".

While the Koch brothers themselves did not author the report, Koch Industries CEO Charles Koch sits on the board of the Mercatus Center.


"If every major country on earth can guarantee health care 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", Sanders said in a statement. And for Business Insider, Bob Bryan wrote that "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".

That's right. A report that was supposed to discredit the single-payer solution found that, even after the benefits of a Medicare for All program are realized-"additional healthcare demand that arises from eliminating copayments, providing additional categories of benefits, and covering the now uninsured"-the potential cost of the plan would still be less than "potential savings associated with cutting provider payments and achieving lower drug costs". Blahous corrected it, reducing his estimate by about $3 trillion over 10 years. But this is more of an accounting thing than anything else: rather than paying premiums, deductibles, and co-pays for health care, people will instead pay a tax that is, on average, a bit less than they now pay into the health care system and, for those on lower incomes, a lot less.

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. Thorpe was a senior health policy adviser in the Clinton administration.

The study found it would deliver significant savings on drug costs and administration, but increased demand would drive up spending.

Medicare often pays much less than private insurance, but more than Medicaid.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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