A study published by George Mason University's Mercatus Center, described by Axios as a "libertarian policy" organization, says that Bernie Sanders' "Medicare for All" plan would be expensive - incredibly so. While the speaker fixated on a prediction by the author of the working paper that the Sanders plan would raise federal health-care spending by roughly $32.6 trillion between 2022 and 2031, economists who actually read the report focused on a far more salient detail.
The US could insure 30 million more Americans and virtually eliminate out-of-pocket health care expenses while saving $2 trillion in the process, according to a new report about Medicare for All released by the libertarian Mercatus Center.
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".
While writing for Business Insider, Bryan also said, "The study contains assumptions, and there are numerous political and practical concerns in shifting the burden of healthcare payments to the federal government".
"Enacting something like "Medicare for all" would be a transformative change in the size of the federal government", said Charles Blahous.
Sanders then explains that up-front and taxpayer costs may rise slightly in the short term to pay for a universal health care system, but that in the long term, the average American will save thousands.
"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".
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.
Sanders calls the study misleading and points to the conservative Koch Brothers' connections to the center. As Senator Sanders says: "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". "There are going to be a lot of people who'll pay more in taxes than they save on premiums". All those people seeing doctors and going to the hospital will drive up health spending over the years, but the legislation is created to offset those costs through lower provider payment rates, drug savings and administrative cost savings. But based on the Mercatus model, tens of millions of currently uninsured Americans would have access to healthcare and the U.S. as a whole would end up spending less than it is expected to right now. In that case, the USA would spend about $400 billion more in 2031.
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.