‘The Eye-Popping Cost’ Of Democrats’ ‘Medicare For None’: Now $34 Trillion

A New Urban Institute Study Shows The One-Size-Fits-All Government-Run Health Care Scheme Embraced By Leading Democrats Would Cost $34 Trillion


The ‘Medicare For None’ Plan Pushed By Leading Democrats ‘Would Require $34 Trillion In Additional Federal Spending Over Its First Decade’

The Medicare for All Act of 2019 is Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) government-run health care legislation, cosponsored by 14 other Democrat senators, including presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kamala Harris (D-CA), and Cory Booker (D-NJ). (S. 1129, 116th Congress)

“The Urban Institute, a center-left think tank highly respected among Democrats, is projecting that a [single-payer health care] plan similar to what Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders are pushing would require $34 trillion in additional federal spending over its first decade in operation.” (“The Eye-Popping Cost of Medicare for All,” The Atlantic, 10/16/2019)

  • “The think tank modeled the costs of eight possible plans to expand health-care coverage that generally track ideas from the Democratic presidential candidates. By far, the most expensive was its version of the single-payer plan that Sanders introduced in the Senate and Warren later endorsed: a blueprint that would eliminate private health insurance … and provide everyone in the United States (including undocumented immigrants) an expansive benefits package …” (“The Eye-Popping Cost of Medicare for All,” The Atlantic, 10/16/2019)

URBAN INSTITUTE: “One single-payer approach [Reform 8] … would require much greater federal spending to finance. The modeled ‘enhanced’ single-payer system would cover everyone, including undocumented immigrants…. National spending on health care would grow by about $720 billion in 2020. Federal government spending would increase by $2.8 trillion in 2020, or $34.0 trillion over 10 years.” (“From Incremental to Comprehensive Health Reform: How Various Reform Options Compare on Coverage and Costs,” Urban Institute, 10/16/2019)

“In 2016, Urban Institute researchers estimated the costs associated with Senator Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign proposal … At that time, we estimated that federal government health care spending would increase by $32.0 trillion over 10 years (2017–26) … That older estimate most closely parallels our 2020–29 estimate in table 16 for reform 8 of $34.0 trillion …” (“From Incremental to Comprehensive Health Insurance Reform: How Various Reform Options Compare on Coverage and Costs,” Urban Institute and The Commonwealth Fund, October 2019)


$34 Trillion Is ‘More Than The Federal Government’s Total Cost Over The Coming Decade For Social Security, Medicare, And Medicaid Combined

“The 10-year cost of $34 trillion that the study forecasts nearly matches the CBO’s estimate of how much money the federal government will spend over that period not only on all entitlement programs, but also all federal income support, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.” (“The Eye-Popping Cost of Medicare for All,” The Atlantic, 10/16/2019)


‘The Urban Institute Estimates That A Single-Payer Plan Would Require’ A $32 Trillion Tax Hike

“The Urban Institute estimates that a single-payer plan would require $32 trillion in new tax revenue over the coming decade…. How big a lift is it to raise $32 trillion? It’s almost 50 percent more than the total revenue the CBO projects Washington will collect from the personal income tax over the next decade (about $23.3 trillion). It’s more than double the amount CBO projects Washington will collect over the next decade from the payroll tax that funds Social Security and part of Medicare (about $15.4 trillion). A $32 trillion tax increase would represent just over two-thirds of the revenue the CBO projects the federal government will collect from all sources over the next decade (just over $46 trillion.)” (“The Eye-Popping Cost of Medicare for All,” The Atlantic, 10/16/2019, Emphasis in original)

  • “Former CBO Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin, now the president of the center-right think tank the American Action Forum, told me that level would need to substantially rise to fund a single-payer plan. He said, in a ‘ballpark’ estimate, that Sanders’s plan ‘would require [a] payroll-tax hike of 20 to 25 percentage points.’” (“The Eye-Popping Cost of Medicare for All,” The Atlantic, 10/16/2019)

“In recent history, only during the height of World War II has the federal government tried to increase taxes, as a share of the economy, as fast as would be required to offset the cost of a single-payer plan, federal figures show.” (“The Eye-Popping Cost of Medicare for All,” The Atlantic, 10/16/2019)

  • “By 2029, with the added cost of single payer factored in, federal revenue would increase to close to 30 percent of the total economy. That would mean federal revenue would increase as a share of the economy by about three-fourths over a decade, vastly more rapidly than in any other 10-year period since World War II. It would also mean that federal revenue would considerably exceed the share of the economy it consumed even in World War II, when it reached 20.5 percent in 1944, a level unmatched since.” (“The Eye-Popping Cost of Medicare for All,” The Atlantic, 10/16/2019)


Nearly All Of The Democratic Candidates For President Appearing In This Week’s Debate Are Pushing Medicare For All Or Have Once Said They Support It

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): “We must pass Medicare for All.” (Sen. Sanders, @BernieSanders, Twitter, 7/15/2019)

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): “Medicare for all is the gold standard…. That's how we make sure that everyone gets health care.” (Democratic Presidential Debate, Westerville, OH, 10/15/2019)

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ): “Medicare for All is the best way to ensure that every American has access to quality, affordable health care.” (Sen. Booker, @CoryBooker, Twitter, 3/11/2019)

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA): “[W]e need to have Medicare for all. That’s just the bottom line.” (CNN, 1/28/2019)

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG: “I do favor Medicare for All, as I do favor any measure that would help get all Americans covered.” (Mayor Buttigieg, @PeteButtigieg, Twitter, 2/18/2018)

FORMER HUD SECRETARY JULIAN CASTRO: “I believe that we need Medicare for all.” (MSNBC’s “All In with Chris Hayes,” 12/13/2018)

REP. TULSI GABBARD (D-HI): “We have to fight to make sure that every single American gets the quality health care that they need through Medicare for All.” (Rep. Gabbard, Speech, 2/02/2019)

FORMER REP. BETO O’ROURKE (D-TX): “A single-payer Medicare-for-all program is the best way to ensure all Americans get the healthcare they need.” (Rep. O’Rourke, Facebook, 6/15/2017)

ANDREW YANG: “Through a Medicare for All system, we can ensure that all Americans receive the healthcare they deserve.” (“Policy: Medicare For All,” Friends of Andrew Yang Website, Accessed 10/17/2019)



Related Issues: Taxes, Health Care