FAH Hospital Policy Blog

Perspectives on health policy affecting America's hospitals and the patients we serve.

FAH Policy Blog Team

ICYMI: Sanders’ Medicare for All Means Higher Taxes, No Private Plans

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) reintroduced the latest edition of his signature Medicare for All legislation in the Senate Wednesday, offering no mention of how it’s massive price tag will be paid for. While Sen. Sanders’ bill would add coverage for long-term care in home and community settings, it would also all but abolish private and employer-based health insurance plans.

FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn released a statement on the legislation saying, “Medicare for All's promises can't be kept. Medicare for All means that Americans would lose the coverage they trust. Medicare for All repeals the ACA, it repeals the employer-based coverage 180 million people depend upon, it repeals Medicare, it repeals Medicaid and throws millions of kids off the insurance they have today. It will force patients into an untested system that will disrupt care for every American.” To read Chip’s full statement click here.

Here’s what others are saying about this legislation:

Axios delves into “How your health care would change under ‘Medicare for All,’” highlighting the legislation’s tax increases. Axios points out “you could not keep your existing plan” and your “taxes would go up. A lot. That’s the tradeoff for eliminating premiums and deductibles. Sanders has not said which taxes he would raise.”

NBC focuses on the massive price tag associated with Sanders’ Medicare for All Plan noting that “critics challenged the new Sanders bill over its cost — $32 trillion over 10 years, according to one estimate by the conservative Mercatus Center — and its elimination of existing private plans.”

CNN’s article, “Bernie Sanders to unveil new Medicare for all bill as the party rallies around Obamacare,” points out that “Sanders' plans to pay for a program that could virtually wipe out the private insurance industry. More than 150 million Americans are currently covered by private insurance through their employers and tens of millions more through Medicare Advantage. Millions more buy coverage via the Affordable Care Act's exchanges.”

An op-ed in The Hill simply states that “There are so many flaws with 'Medicare for all.'” A doctor writes that “this bill seeks utopia by giving government centralized power and control over every aspect of medicine via a single-payer model, and comes with an astronomical price tag. The cost in dollars is in the trillions, but there is also another, hidden cost: the elimination of the conscience rights of nurses and doctors.”

Politico points out that the Medicare for All bill does not include “a price tag or specifics on what tax increases would be needed to pay for a coverage expansion that analysts project could cost upwards of $30 trillion over a decade — a sticking point critics have seized on in dismissing the concept as a pipe dream.”

In another article, Axios explains how “Medicare for All redistributes who pays for health care.” It projects workers and wage earners will foot the bill of the massively expensive plan: “A 4% “income-based premium” for workers who make more than $29,000 and a 7.5% “income-based premium” on employers (exempting the first $2 million in payroll) are two of the financing options. Most economists assume that the employer tax would get passed onto employees through lost wages.”