A Christian friend of mine who is divorced with children surprised me by telling me that she favored single payer health-care. I asked her if she realized that people would have to be taxed to pay for all this free health care, and she seemed to be aware of it. But even I didn’t realize how much it would really cost.
Investor’s Business Daily reports on a couple of recent studies – one from the left, and one from the far-left – that both agreed on the price tag for universal health care.
Last year, 16 Senators, including three presidential hopefuls, co-sponsored Sanders’ “Medicare for all” bill. And earlier this month, more than 70 Democrats signed on to form a “Medicare for all” caucus. Support for the bill is now something of a litmus test for Democratic hopefuls.
Do they have any idea what they’re endorsing?
A new study out Monday from George Mason University’s Mercatus Center finds that Sanders plan would add to federal spending in its first 10 years, with costs steadily rising from there. That closely matches other studies — including one by the liberal Urban Institute — that looked at Sanders’ plan.
To put this in perspective, “Medicare for all” would the size of the already bloated federal government. Doubling corporate and individual income taxes wouldn’t cover the costs.
Even this is wildly optimistic. To get to this number, author Charles Blahous had to make several completely unrealistic assumptions about savings under Sanders’ hugely disruptive plan.
The first is a massive cut in payments to providers. Sanders wants to apply Medicare’s below-market rates across the board, which would amount to a roughly 40% cut in payments to doctors and hospitals. Blahous figures this will save hundreds of billions of dollars a year.
But cuts of that magnitude would drive doctors out of medicine and hospitals out of business, since the only way providers can afford Medicare’s cut-rate reimbursements today is by charging private payers more.
The study also assumes that shoving everyone into a government health care plan would cut administrative costs by $1.6 trillion over the next decade and prescription drug costs by $846 billion. Neither of those are likely, and wouldn’t make much of a difference in overall spending anyway. Private insurance overhead accounts for about 6% of national health spending, and drugs less than 10%.
There’s also the fact that every other federal health program has seen costs explode “unexpectedly” after they were enacted. The per-enrollee cost of ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion, for example, is almost 49% higher than expected. Medicare itself cost nearly 10 times as much as projected in its first 25 years.
The author of the Mercatus study was nominated Barack Obama to be a member of the Board of Trustees of the Social Security Trust Funds. That might explain his questionable assumptions about costs. And the Urban Institute is even further to the left. There can be no doubt that the true cost of the Sanders health care plan would be much higher than what these two studies calculated it to be.
Now, you might think that we can just tax the people who earn the most money to pay for all this spending.
In 2012, John Stossel wrote this in Forbes:
If the IRS grabbed 100 percent of income over $1 million, the take would be just $616 billion.
In 2011, the Tax Foundation explained that even if you taxed ALL THE DISPOSABLE INCOME from all the people who make $200,000 or more, you would only raise $1.53 trillion dollars:
There’s simply not enough wealth in the community of the rich to erase this country’s problems by waving some magic tax wand.
[…]After everyone making more than $200,000/year has paid taxes, the IRS would need to take every single penny of disposable income they have left. Such an act would raise approximately $1.53 trillion. It may be economically ruinous, but at least this proposal would actually solve the problem.
Taxing the rich isn’t enough to pay for single payer health care. $32.6 trillion over 10 years works out to $3.26 trillion per year. We’re not going to pay that off even with $1.53 trillion a year of additional revenue. And this is assuming that the wealthy would just allow themselves to be made into slaves, and keep working even if the government takes all their money.
Who is going to pay for all the spending we already have scheduled? As the graph above shows, things are going to get worse in the future as the big entitlement programs pay out more than current tax rates take in. I’m sure glad that I’m going to be retiring before 2032, and I’m not going to be stuck with the bill for this. It’s one thing for me to get out of bed every morning to be paid only 75% of what I earn. I certainly wouldn’t want to be working if the tax rates here were more like Europe, so that I’d be taking home less than half of what I earn. No thank you!
By the way, it might be a good idea to think about whether you want to have children or not before you vote. Children are expensive, and if we keep electing the big spenders like Obama, then there isn’t going to be any money left over to run a family and raise kids. Think about it before you vote with your feelings only.