Is Elizabeth Warren’s Medicare-for-All Plan Feasible?
Criticized by her fellow Democrats for not talking about how she plans to pay for a single-payer Medicare for all program and for insisting that under her plan, the middle class will not see higher taxes, Warren has responded by unveiling details about where the money for her Medicare for all plan would come from.
To date (fall of 2019), Warren’s Medicare for all plan is the most detailed of all the Democratic party candidates’ plans. Even Bernie, the author of a Senate Medicare for all bill, does not have a clearly-delineated Medicare for all payment plan and has indicated that his plan will require higher taxes for the middle class.
Before we go into the specifics of Warren’s Medicare for all payment plan, we need to remember that our current healthcare system is unsustainable: Medical costs are the number 1 reason for bankruptcy in America; compared to most developed countries, our per capita healthcare costs are significantly higher but health outcomes are worse (the infant mortality rate is higher in the U.S. and the average life span is shorter). Even Americans with insurance are often burdened with healthcare costs not covered by their private insurance companies.
So, a single payer healthcare system that covers everyone, such as Medicare for all, is not a radical “socialist” proposal, and certainly should not be viewed as a pipe dream, especially since many developed, affluent countries have had such healthcare systems for decades—countries in which the quality of health care is higher and no one is forced into bankruptcy because of healthcare costs.
This is how Warren proposes to pay for her Medicare for all program:
• Employers that are now offering health care insurance will pay essentially the same amount in premiums to the government.
• States will pay the federal government what they are currently paying for state employees and Medicaid recipients
There is an $11 trillion additional cost after proceeds from the above two payment sources are accounted for. She proposes to pay for these additional costs through the following:
• A 6% tax on the net worth of billionaires and for the top 1 percent of households, investment gains will be taxed annually instead of when stocks are sold.
• A 35% total tax rate on U.S. corporations doing business overseas.
• More stringent tax enforcement
• cutting military spending.
• Pharmaceutical companies will receive about 30% less than what Medicare pays currently.
• Doctors’ pay would be cut to what Medicare pays currently
(reductions for specialists and small increases for primary care physicians)
• Hospitals will see about a 10% increase in payments compared to what Medicare pays now. (more)