November 18, 2018

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

02 August 2018, 07:47 | Silvia Roy

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

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

Sen. Bernie Sanders' "Medicare for all" plan would increase government healthcare spending by $32.6 trillion over 10 years, according to a study by a university-based libertarian policy center.

After taking into account current government healthcare financing, the study estimated that doubling all federal individual and corporate income taxes would not fully cover the additional costs.

Under Sanders' plan, all US residents would have health coverage, with no copays or deductibles, and private insurers would be restricted to a minor role, the Associated Press reported. The insurance industry would be relegated to a minor role.

"Enacting something like "Medicare for all" would be a transformative change in the size of the federal government", said Charles Blahous.

In fact, in a statement slamming the study, Sanders said, "This grossly misleading and biased report is the Koch brothers response to the growing support in our country for a "Medicare for all' program". The Mercatus Center receives funding from the Koch brothers, prominent conservative donors, and Charles Koch is on the center's board.

In other words, according to the analysis, Bernie Sanders' health care plan would cost the country about the same in aggregate as the current system, while covering the entire population. Blahous says the report is his own work, not that of the Koch brothers.

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But to single-payer advocates, there is no obvious difference to the average American between sending their money to a private insurer through premiums and sending it to the government through higher taxes. Even if Democrats manage to take control of both the House and Senate, a narrow majority with a Republican in the White House would make it hard to enact this kind of legislation.

Medicare-for-All, also known as single-payer healthcare, has become increasingly popular among Democrats, including progressive candidates such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who pulled off a shocking primary upset last month in New York's 14th Congressional District and made the issue a central part of her platform.

Mr Sanders' office has not immediately responded to The Independent's request for comment on the study's projections.

The analysis, from the libertarian-leaning Mercatus Center at George Mason University, focuses on legislation introduced by Sen.

"I don't look at this report and say it is a partisan hack job: The basic idea the Sanders plan would require a substantial increase in federal budget outlays is correct", Pollack said. "Even though people don't pay premiums, the tax increases are going to be enormous". Since February, Democrats have slowly and steadily expressed their support for the Vermont senator's stance on a better health care system for Americans.

The study found it would deliver significant savings on drug costs and administration, but increased demand would drive up spending. It also banks on saving trillions by streamlining administration.

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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.

Medicare often pays much less than private insurance, but more than Medicaid.

The Mercatus Centre also projected the plan would garner savings, like from lower prescription costs by $846bn by 2031.

However, it also found that potential savings would vanish if hospitals and doctors aren't willing to accept lower fees for patients who are now privately insured. In a special study published by The Economist in April, the magazine argued in in favor of a universal health care system, stating that poor and rich would benefit from it.

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