The Verdict Is In, And Bernie’s Health Care Plan Falls Short By $16 Trillion

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Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter
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Despite major tax increases, 2016 Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders’ health-care plan would fall roughly $16.6 trillion short over the course of a decade, according to studies released by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center and the Urban Institute.

While Sanders claimed all of his proposals would be fully paid for, his tax increases would raise just more than $15 trillion over the course of 10 years, yet his Medicare-for-all plan for would cost an estimated $32 trillion.

The think tanks concluded, in total, his proposals would add around $18 trillion to the federal deficit over a decade and would cause growth revenues to gradually slow over time.

The findings show health-care providers would “feel the Bern” in their paychecks.

“Physician incomes would be squeezed by the new payment rates because such rates would be considerably below what physicians are paid by private insurers. Again, whether providers were financial winners or losers from there would depend upon their current payer mix,” the Urban Institute study reads. “The pharmaceutical and medical device industries would be squeezed perhaps more than is sustainable.”

To fund his health plan, the self-described Democratic socialist said he would implement at 6.2 precent payroll tax paid by employers and an additional 2.2 percent income tax on individuals.

Economists have warned Sanders’ proposals could have a crippling effect on the economy.

“The dramatic increase in government borrowing would crowd out private investment, raise interest rates, further increase government borrowing costs, and retard economic growth. In combination with the dramatically higher tax rates, which would reduce incentives to work, save, and invest, the negative macroeconomic effects of the plan could be severe (Sammartino et al. 2016),” the Tax Policy Center said in its report. “Our estimates do not account for those macroeconomic feedback effects.”

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