'Medicare for all' bill estimated in the trillions

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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".

Bernie Sanders (I-VT) pointed out in a video for Twitter, a study by the Mercatus Center - which is "significantly funded" by the Koch Brothers - found that, in a ten-year period, Medicare for All would save Americans $2 trillion. As an example, the senator cited reducing administrative costs he said was, "now taking place as a result of the billing, bureaucracy and and insatiable greed within the insurance industry".

Sen. Bernie Sanders took aim at a new report released by a conservative Koch-affiliated economic policy think tank, saying its findings "accidentally make the case" for Medicare-for-All.

The latest plan from the Vermont independent would deliver significant savings on administration and drug costs, but increased demand for care would drive up spending, according to the analysis by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Virginia.

That's trillion with a T.

Paying for such a system would require a historic increase in taxes - and Blahous writes that "doubling of all now projected federal individual and corporate income tax collections would be insufficient to finance the added federal costs of the plan".

Josh Miller-Lewis, Sanders's press secretary, said the additional $32 trillion is already being spent by private insurers, and the Medicare-for-All plan would simply move the money to the government. All US residents would be covered with no copays or deductibles for medical services.

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These changes would lead the US government to control virtually all health spending in the United States - Sanders' plan would also cover dental care and vision care - in what may be the biggest increase in federal expenditures in history, according to Blahous. "I suspect that that is not what the Koch brothers meant to do, but that is what's in the study of the Mercatus Center".

But Sanders is right that the study concludes that his plan would reduce overall spending on health care in the United States. "This grossly misleading and biased report is the Koch brothers response to the growing support in our country for a "Medicare for all" program".

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

Sanders' staff found an error in an initial version of the Mercatus report, which counted a long-term care program that was in the 2016 proposal but not the current one. By 2025, the current for-profit healthcare system is expected to cost a staggering $5.5 trillion per year.

Charles Blahous, the study's author, insisted it was his own work and denied they had been involved in its creation.

As Common Dreams reported, Medicare for All is also gaining steam on Capitol Hill, with more than 70 House Democrats joining the newly formed Medicare for All Caucus, which will devote significant energy and resources to studying what it would take to implement a single-payer system in the US and guarantee healthcare to all Americans as a right.

The idea of a national health insurance plan has gained broader acceptance since Sanders made it the cornerstone of his 2016 presidential campaign. Single-payer systems in many European countries demonstrate that they can reduce overall national health spending, but that does not mean that a Democratic administration could implement one without incurring an vast political backlash, said Harold Pollack, a health-care expert at the University of Chicago.