Published: Wed, August 01, 2018
Medicine | By Tracy Klein

Sanders’ ‘Medicare for All’ Plan Would Cost Additional $32.6 Trillion

Sanders’ ‘Medicare for All’ Plan Would Cost Additional $32.6 Trillion

"Even doubling all federal individual and corporate income taxes wouldn't cover this cost". In the first year, the federal government would drop the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 55 - a proposal also backed by many centrist Senate Democrats - as well as enrolling everyone now on Medicare and everyone younger than 18.

Total national health spending would be $2 trillion lower between 2022 and 2031 under the Medicare for All plan, according to the report. 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. "That's what was in the study", said Sanders.

Levitt said Sanders's plan is a good illustration of what Medicare for all could accomplish in theory, but payment levels for providers hasn't really had a full debate yet.

Medicare-for-All, also known as single-payer healthcare, has become increasingly popular among Democrats, including progressive candidates such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who pulled off a shocking primary upset last month in New York's 14th Congressional District and made the issue a central part of her platform. It concludes the Sanders Medicare-for-All plan would increase federal budget commitments by about $32 trillion over its first 10 years of implementation. Its findings are similar to those of several independent studies of Sanders' 2016 plan.

Kenneth Thorpe, a health policy professor at Emory University, pointed out that "even though people don't pay premiums, the tax increases are going to be enormous".

Sanders' plan would require enormous tax increases in order for the government to replace what employers and consumers now pay for health care.

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. At the same time, the model also assumes that 30 million more people would get access to healthcare, and many people would get more robust services.

And, they say, putting all Americans on one insurer would create a large-enough pool to force private health-care providers to charge less, while eliminating private insurers' spending on marketing and administrative overhead that do not improve health outcomes.

The study found that the plan would reap substantial savings from lower prescription costs - $846 billion over 10 years - since the government would deal directly with drugmakers.

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.

But the Mercatus report also showed that the national health expenditure - the total amount spent on healthcare in the USA by the federal government, states, businesses, and individuals - would actually come in below current projections under Sanders' plan.

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

However, it also found that potential savings would vanish if hospitals and doctors aren't willing to accept lower fees for patients who are now privately insured.

Costs have been a stumbling block for state efforts to enact a single-payer system, including in Sanders own state of Vermont.

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