Health Care

Bernie's 'Medicare for All' Cost: $32.6 Trillion

A new study finds that even doubling individual and corporate tax rates wouldn't cover the cost.

Thomas Gallatin · Jul. 30, 2018

One of the central policy planks of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s 2016 campaign platform was his “Medicare for All” plan — a plan he continues to trumpet with his newest Millennial socialist acolyte. In short, the plan would expand the current governmental insurance plan for seniors to include all Americans. As even Sanders openly argues, it’s a means of creating de facto single-payer health care. “Health care must be recognized as a right, not a privilege,” he insists. “Every man, woman, and child in our country should be able to access the health care they need regardless of their income. The only long-term solution to America’s health care crisis is a single-payer national health care program.”

A free lunch is all fun and games until someone gets the bill.

On Monday, the Mercatus Center at George Mason University released its study on the overall cost of Sanders’s single-payer legislation, the “Medicare for All Act (M4A).” The study found that the “M4A would place unprecedented strain on the federal budget” — to the tune of $32.6 trillion in added cost over the first 10 years of its implementation. The Associated Press noted that “after taking into account current government health care financing, the study estimated that doubling all federal individual and corporate income taxes would not fully cover the additional costs.” Yikes! Study author Charles Blahous writes, “Enacting something like ‘Medicare for All’ would be a transformative change in the size of the federal government.”

Sanders was quick to push back against the study, claiming that the libertarian policy center was being bankrolled by the Koch brothers — as if that undermines the merits of its argument. “This grossly misleading and biased report is the Koch brothers’ response to the growing support in our country for a ‘Medicare for All’ program,” Sanders groused. And yet a spokesman for Sanders admitted that his office has not conducted a cost analysis on the plan. Ideology trumping reality.

But the Mercatus Center’s study isn’t the only one to conclude that Sanders’s plan would create astronomically high taxes to cover the federal costs. Kenneth Thorpe, a former health policy adviser in the Clinton administration and current professor of health policy at Emory University, authored another study that arrived at a similar conclusion. “If you are going to go in this direction, it’s going to cost the federal government $2.5 trillion to $3 trillion a year in terms of spending,” Thorpe stated. “Even though people don’t pay premiums, the tax increases are going to be enormous. There are going to be a lot of people who’ll pay more in taxes than they save on premiums.”

As Democrats continue to veer hard-left, these outright socialist polices like M4A are increasingly becoming the litmus tests candidates must embrace. But Democrats need to be forced to address the actual cost of this socialist ideology and not simply blame the Koch brothers for math they don’t like.

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