'Medicare for all' bill estimated at $32.6 trillion

Medicare For All’ Receives Price Publicity

Medicare For All’ Receives Price Publicity

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders refused to accept a recent study that showed his "medicare for all" program would cost United States taxpayers over $32 trillion; releasing a new video that claims universal healthcare would actually save $2 trillion over ten years.

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".

But the Mercatus report also showed that the national health expenditure - the total amount spent on healthcare in the U.S. by the federal government, states, businesses, and individuals - would actually come in below current projections under Sanders' plan. There won't be an increase in health spending, but "this would be a transformative change in the size of the federal government".

"Let me thank the Koch brothers, of all people, for sponsoring a study that shows that Medicare for All would save the American people $2 trillion dollars", Sanders said.

The long-time advocate for a single-payer system was not exactly singing the praises of the Mercatus study, which he dismissed as a "grossly misleading and biased" attempt by the Koch brothers to counter "growing support in our country for a "Medicare for All" program".

Sanders' office has not done a cost analysis, a spokesman said. The figures in the Mercatus analysis are in the range of other cost estimates for Sanders' 2016 plan, the AP reported.

Sanders' staff found an error in an initial version of the Mercatus report, which counted a long-term care program that was in the 2016 proposal but not the current one.

Charles Blahous, the study's author, insisted it was his own work and denied they had been involved in its creation. But Sanders is right that a new study concludes his plan would reduce overall spending on health care in America.

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Proponents of Medicare for all, also known as a single-payer system, are quick to note the study also estimates national expenditures on healthcare would decrease by about $2 trillion if the Sanders bill were signed into law.

Its projections suggested that if the plans were enacted in 2018 and implemented between 2022 and 2031, it would cost $32.6 trillion over 10 years.

"Health care costs, even for those who have health insurance, are endangering tens of millions of people every day in this country", said National Nurses Union co-president Jean Ross, RN. The idea of the single-payer system has also taken hold as a litmus test for 2020 democratic presidential candidates, according to the National Review.

Kenneth Thorpe, a health policy professor at Emory University and a senior health policy adviser in the Clinton administration, added to the discussion, stating that people will end up paying more in taxes than they would save on premiums under the new plan. "Yes, an individual may pay more in taxes, but that family of four that is spending $28,000 a year for health care today will no longer pay premiums, copays or deductibles to private insurance companies".

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 or copays, and improved benefits, including dental, vision, and hearing.

But Graboyes warned that, according to the report, even doubling all now projected federal individual and corporate income tax collections would be "insufficient" to finance the costs of Medicare-for-All.

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