A study has been done on how much Sen. Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for all” plan would increase government health care spending. According to a university-based libertarian policy center, the amount of increase over a 10 year period would be $32.6 trillion.
That was with a “T!”
The latest health care plan from the Vermont independent would need an unprecedented tax increase as the government replaces what employers and consumers now pay for health care. According to the analysis being released Monday by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Virginia, it would deliver significant savings on administration and drug costs, but increased demand for care would drive up spending, the analysis found.
The plan from Sanders builds on the existing Medicare insurance program for seniors. In the new proposal, all U.S. residents would be covered with no copays and deductibles for medial services. The insurance industry would be forced into a minor role.
“Enacting something like `Medicare for all’ would be a transformative change in the size of the federal government,” said Charles Blahous, the study’s author. 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.
Responding to the study, Sanders lashed out at the Mercatus Center. They receive funding from the conservative Koch brothers.
“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. “This grossly misleading and biased report is the Koch brothers response to the growing support in our country for a `Medicare for all’ program.”
The Mercatus analysis estimated the 10-year cost of “Medicare for all” from 2022 to 2031, after an initial phase-in. Its findings are similar to those of several independent studies of Sanders’ 2016 plan. Those studies found increases in federal spending over 10 years that ranged from $24.7 trillion to $34.7 trillion.