Bernie Sanders Thanks Koch Brothers for Making Case for 'Medicare for All'

Bernie Sander’s ‘Medicare For All’ Would Cost $32.6 Trillion, Study Projects

US government health care spending would rise by $32.6 trillion over 10 years under the "Medicare for all" plan proposed by Sen.

At first glance, it is unusual that the Mercatus Center, which is libertarian in its orientation and heavily funded by the libertarian Koch family, would publish a report this positive about Medicare for All.

Mr Sanders' plan would provide coverage for various elements of health care, including preventative to emergency care, mental health and substance abuse services and prescription medications - and all by a federally administered single-player health system.

Consequently, income tax collections would need to be twice as high to support the federal costs of the plan. There won't be an increase in health spending, but "this would be a transformative change in the size of the federal government". The study - written by Charles Blahous, a former official in President George W. Bush's administration - notes that this price tag would not be covered by doubling what the government now takes in through individual and corporate taxes.

Sanders recorded a video in which he said: "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 over a 10-year period".

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In his statement published after Blahous' paper came out, he kept it straightforward: "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".

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". His office has not released a cost analysis.

In 2016, the United States spent $3.4 trillion on healthcare; projected over ten years - and assuming costs don't rise, as they're expected to - that's $34 trillion.

"$32.6 trillion dollars. That's how much Washington Democrats' single-payer healthcare proposal would cost over 10 years", House Speaker Paul Ryan tweeted.

Charles Blahous responded that the study was his own work and not the Koch brothers'.

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The idea of a national health insurance plan has gained broader acceptance since Sanders made it the cornerstone of his 2016 presidential campaign.

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.

"I suspect that that is not what the Koch brothers meant to do, but that is what is in the study", Sanders said of the projected savings. And for Business Insider, Bob Bryan wrote that "while the price tag for the federal government would increase, the total cost of healthcare would go down while also providing healthcare to more than 30 million uninsured Americans". "Even though people don't pay premiums, the tax increases are going to be enormous". "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". Savings from streamlined administration would be even greater, at almost $1.6 trillion.

"Doubling all now projected federal individual and corporate income tax collections would be insufficient to finance the added federal costs of the plan", the study read.

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