On Wednesday, 2020 candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., released his updated “Medicare for all” bill. The plan is even more disastrous than its original 2017 iteration.
The new bill is not all that different from the one he introduced two years ago. It would still force virtually every person to swap their current health plan (whether that’s private insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid) for a single, one-size-fits-all, government-run plan. But he’s made the plan even more generous and costly by promising to cover long-term care delivered in home and community settings.
It’s clear cost was of little concern to Sanders. His original plan would have run more than $30 trillion in its first decade, according to studies from both the left-leaning Urban Institute and the market-oriented Mercatus Center. Even doubling all federal individual and corporate tax receipts would be insufficient to cover that 14-figure sum.
Sanders has outlined several major tax hikes to pay for his latest plan, including a new 4% income tax, a new 7.5% payroll tax, new marginal income tax rates of up to 70%, and a 77% estate tax.
Sanders promises to “guarantee health care to all people as a right.” But by making healthcare free at the point of service, his “Medicare for all” plan will invite unlimited demand. He’s promising to cut payments to doctors and hospitals to Medicare’s rates; they’ll respond by limiting the amount of care they’re willing to supply. Long waits will be the result.
Consider Canada, whose healthcare system is similar to the one Sanders has in mind for the United States. There, patients wait a median of 19.8 weeks to receive treatment from a specialist after getting a referral from a general practitioner.
Sanders has promised to flout the Senate’s rules and ram “Medicare for all” through Congress if elected president in 2020. At least he’s being honest with voters about his plans. They’re unlikely to reward such radicalism at the ballot box.