The Corner

Health Care

This One Weird Trick Will Save You Trillions on Health Care!

Sanders at a town hall event in Philadelphia, April 2016 (Reuters photo: Mark Kauzlarich)

Bernie Sanders may have reacted badly to the news (again) that his much-coveted single-payer health-care system would cost at least $32 trillion in new federal spending over a decade. But not everyone has. At Vox, Dylan Scott echoed a line that was popular at Jacobin and Mother Jones, and cast the price tag as a bargain that would actually cut overall health spending:

Mercatus is projecting a $32 trillion increase in federal spending, above current projected government expenditures, from 2022 to 2031.

In terms of overall health care spending in the United States over the same period, however, they are actually projecting a slight reduction.

There is the rub. The federal government is going to spend a lot more money on health care, but the country is going to spend about the same.

Ah, I see. So the Sanders “Plan” is going to save money. And all we need to do to get to that happy state of affairs is:

  • Force every doctor and hospital in America to accept Medicare reimbursement rates for all patients — these are 40 percent lower than the rates paid by private insurance — while assuming that this would have absolutely no effect on their capacity or willingness to provide services
  • Raise taxes by 10 percent of GDP — overnight
  • Explain to the 150 million people with private insurance that the rules have been changed so dramatically that (a) they can no longer keep their plans, and (b) henceforth, tens of millions among them will be paying more in taxes than they were previously paying in both premiums and out-of-pocket costs

Easy!

 

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