‘Medicare for All’ Plan Estimated To Cost More Than $32 Trillion
A “Medicare for all” plan to provide universal health coverage to all Americans has been projected to cost the government $32.6 trillion over 10 years. The proposal has been studied by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Virginia, which released its analysis this week. However, some backers of the plan are suspicious of the analysis because the Mercatus Center receives funding from the conservative Koch brothers and Koch Industries CEO Charles Koch is on the center’s board.
The plan being debated today is based on the Medicare, the popular insurance program for seniors. Under the plan, all U.S. residents would be covered with no copays and deductibles for medical services. Implementation of the plan would push the insurance industry into a minor role in the new healthcare landscape.
While the latest plan being analyzed would deliver significant savings on administration and drug costs, increased demand for care would drive up spending. Implementing the plan would require historic tax hikes, as even doubling the current federal individual and corporate income tax receipts would not be enough to cover the full cost.
The analysis estimated the 10-year cost of such a plan from 2022 to 2031, after an initial phase-in. The savings from lower prescription costs was estimated to be about $846 billion over 10 years. Administrative savings would be even higher at about $1.6 trillion over the same time period. But the plan would increase the number of covered people by nearly 30 million, substantially driving up spending.
The idea has broad support among Democrats and many independents support it. However, with Republicans in charge of both Congress and the White House, any “Medicare for all” plan has little chance. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders commented, “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.”