'Medicare for all' bill estimated in the trillions

  • 'Medicare for all' bill estimated in the trillions

'Medicare for all' bill estimated in the trillions

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, responds to a question during a town hall meeting in Jackson, Mississippi, April 4, 2018.

While most outlets don't even mention the buried cost-saving conclusion of the Mercatus report, Axios - whose headline reads "Bernie's "Medicare for All" predicted to cost almost $33 trillion" - includes this line at the very bottom of its piece, in the "worth noting" section: "All told, "Medicare for All" would actually slightly reduce the total amount we pay for health care".

"Medicare for All" would diminish the role of the insurance industry while building on Medicare to cover all USA residents without requiring copays or deductibles, the Associated Press reports.

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".

There won't be an increase in health spending, but "this would be a transformative change in the size of the federal government".

In the report, Charles Blahous attempts to roughly score Bernie Sanders's most recent Medicare-for-All bill and reaches the somewhat surprising (for Mercatus) conclusion that, if the bill were enacted, the new costs it creates would be more than offset by the new savings it generates through administrative efficiencies and reductions in unit prices.

Sanders' office has not done a cost analysis, a spokesman said.

Blahous, who was a senior economic adviser to former President George W. Bush and a public trustee of Social Security and Medicare during the Obama administration, said none of the critics have found anything fundamentally wrong with his analysis.

Sanders calls the study misleading and points to the conservative Koch Brothers' connections to the center.

Graboyes declined to comment on how Sanders was interpreting the Mercatus Center report but said he has "high respect for senators across the board".

The Mercatus estimates are within the range of cost projections for Sanders' 2016 plan.

"When you consider a universal single-payer program would 1) cover every single American, eliminating uninsurance and 2) provide much more robust benefits, covering more services than get covered right now, then it starts to look like a good deal". 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". With Republicans in charge of Congress and the White House, it has little chance.

Sanders' plan - if he succeeds in implementing it - will instead "increase the share of that cost paid through taxes, rather than through insurance premiums or out of pocket costs, according to Axios".

So 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.

Robert Graboyes, a senior research fellow and health care scholar at the center who read Blahous's report through its production, said the report doesn't "predict" $2 trillion in savings. Medicare rates are now about 40 percent less than private insurance, according to the analysis.