The “Medicare for all” plan backed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) would increase government spending on health care by a projected cost of $32.6 trillion over 10 years, according to an analysis by a university-based libertarian policy center.
Sen. Sanders’ proposed plan would essentially extend Medicare to all U.S. residents, with no copays or deductibles for medical services. The insurance industry would play a relatively minor role in health care.
The report conceded that a government-run health system would lead to savings on prescription drugs (approximately $846 billion over 10 years) because the government would deal directly with pharmaceutical manufacturers and streamline administration. However, the plan’s provisions also would increase demand for health services and paying for the system would require substantial tax hikes.
While Sen. Sanders’ team has not performed their own cost analysis, he found fault with the methodology of the study, which was conducted at a center that receives 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 U.S. cannot do the same,” Sen. 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.”
Source: AP News, July 30, 2018.