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Even Bernie Sanders Thinks “Medicare For All” Would Bankrupt America

Even Bernie Sanders has acknowledged that the federal government couldn’t afford to provide health care to all of its citizens.

In a video clip from 1987 that was discovered by the Washington Free Beacon, then-Burlington Mayor Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) admitted that “giving everybody a Medicaid card” would “bankrupt the nation.”

“You want to guarantee that all people have access to health care as you do in Canada,” Sanders said.

 

“But unless we change the funding and control systems to do that, for example, if we gave everybody a Medicaid card we would be spending such an astronomical sum of money that we would bankrupt the nation.”

Of course, as we reported two days ago, Sanders is pushing essentially the same system with his newly introduced “Medicare for All” bill. The proposal would offer the same suite of medical benefits required for some insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act and eliminate most out-of-pocket costs. Mr. Sanders argues that although taxes would likely rise to support the new system, families would save money by no longer needing to purchase health coverage.

Unsurprisingly given Sanders’s well-known views on government spending, the 96-page bill offers no mechanisms to pay for the plan, which is expected to cost the federal government trillions of dollars a year. A Bernie spokesman said his office plans to release a separate white paper focusing on payment strategies, but as of now, no such plan exists.

According to the Free Beacon, Sanders claims his bill would solve this – not inconsequential – problem by giving the government power to negotiate drug prices. But many experts consider his estimates highly optimistic. A study by the Urban Institute suggested that Sanders’ plan would cost $32 trillion over 10 years, which is about double Sanders’ estimate of the rough revenue figures that it would generate through taxes and cost-cutting.

However, Axios has proposed a few options that might work…

  • A 7.5% income-based premium paid by employers, which his paper claims will raise $3.9 trillion over 10 years. This would exempt certain small businesses.
  • 4% income-based premium paid by households, which his paper claims will raise $4.2 trillion over 10 years. This would not affect low-income families.
  • Savings from health tax expenditures, which his paper claims will raise $4.2 trillion over 10 years.
  • Make the personal income tax and the estate tax more progressive, including limiting deductions for the wealthy. His paper claims this will raise $1.8 trillion and $249 billion over 10 years, respectively.
  • “Establish a Wealth Tax on the Top 0.1 percent,” which his paper claims will raise $1.3 trillion over 10 years.
  • Add a fee on large financial institutions, which his paper claims will raise $117 billion over 10 years.

Of course, while we can forgive socialists like Bernie for wanting to ensure that every needy individuals receives medical care, the long-term risks are simply too large to ignore.

As one twitter user pointed out…

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