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Bernie Sanders, whose socialist ideas gained traction during his failed presidential bid, wants to expand Medicare to cover all US residents without copays or deductibles.
According to a recent report from the Koch-funded Mercatus Center at George Mason University, Sanders’ “Medicare for all” plan would increase government healthcare spending by more than $32 trillion over the next decade. Annual government spending would be between $2.5 trillion and $3 trillion.
Sanders describes the report as “biased” and “grossly misleading” and insists that “if every major country on Earth can guarantee healthcare 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 US cannot do the same.”
As noted in the report, Sanders’ plan would require massive tax increases that would in some cases cost more than today’s insurance premiums. “There are going to be a lot of people who’ll pay more in taxes than they save on premiums,” explains health policy expert Kenneth Thorpe.
And while Sanders’ idea would save money on drugs and administration, it would also transform the size of the government and fuel an increased demand for healthcare.
Taking into account current government healthcare financing and the 30 million uninsured Americans who would qualify for the new program, the study estimated that doubling all federal taxes would not cover the additional costs.
Sanders’ proposal also requires hospitals and doctors to accept lower payments, which could lead to a mass exodus of medical professionals.