$32 Trillion – ‘That’s trillion with a T.’ – The Associated Press notices how expensive single payer would be

By Robert Laurie

Socialism. Embracing it is America’s hot new left-wing trend.  Most people aren’t dumb enough to buy in, but it does have a foothold on the coasts.  Despite the abject unworkability of their ideas, folks like Bernie Sanders and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez have gained a following that continues to grow.  True, it’s an ideology that’s currently unelectable in the rest of the country but, if we’d like to keep it that way, we’d better know what we’re up against.

To help keep us informed, we turn to the Associated Press.  Yes, really – the Associated Press. Yes.  THAT Associated Press.

Even the AP is having a hard time believing in the viability of the “Medicare for All” fiasco currently being offered by the so-called “Democratic Socialist” contingent. From the AP, via ABC News:

Sen. Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for all” plan would increase government health care spending by $32.6 trillion over 10 years, according to a study by a university-based libertarian policy center.

That’s trillion with a “T.”

The latest plan from the Vermont independent would require historic tax increases as government replaces what employers and consumers now pay for health care, according to the analysis being released Monday by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Virginia. It would deliver significant savings on administration and drug costs, but increased demand for care would drive up spending, the analysis found.

“Enacting something like ‘Medicare for all’ would be a transformative change in the size of the federal government,” said Charles Blahous, the study’s author. Blahous was a senior economic adviser to former President George W. Bush and a public trustee of Social Security and Medicare during the Obama administration.

OK, fine.  I know there are those will say something along the lines of “It’s a ‘Libertarian policy center.’ Of course they hate universal health care!”  The problem is that their numbers check out. The bigger problem is that, when you dig into the report, you’ll find that it errs on the side of caution.  Like most things government-related, the eventual cost of Medicare for All (M4A) will probably be higher than forecast.

By conservative estimates, this legislation would have the following effects:

  • M4A would add approximately $32.6 trillion to federal budget commitments during the first 10 years of its implementation (2022–2031).
  • This projected increase in federal healthcare commitments would equal approximately 10.7 percent of GDP in 2022. This amount would rise to nearly 12.7 percent of GDP in 2031 and continue to rise thereafter.

These estimates are conservative because they assume the legislation achieves its sponsors’ goals of dramatically reducing payments to health providers, in addition to substantially reducing drug prices and administrative costs.

Given the disastrous results of the federal government’s last few healthcare boodoggles, I doubt there’s a single sane person out there who is willing to bet the farm on the “conservative estimates.” …Fortunately, Bernie Sanders has a long way to go to prove his sanity.

He thinks the study is flawed, biased, and – as always – a vicious attack from the now-ubiquitous left-wing boogeyman “The Koch Brothers.” As he puts it:

“If every major country on earth can guarantee health care to all, and achieve better health outcomes, while spending substantially less per capita than we do, it is absurd for anyone to suggest that the United States cannot do the same,” Sanders said in a statement. “This grossly misleading and biased report is the Koch brothers response to the growing support in our country for a ‘Medicare for all’ program.”

The problem, of course, is that “better health outcomes” are by no means guaranteed.  In fact, the report addresses this (and Bernie ignores it) as follows:

M4A would markedly increase the demand for healthcare services while simultaneously cutting payments to provid­ers by more than 40 percent, reducing payments to levels that are lower on average than providers’ current costs of providing care. It cannot be known how much providers will react to these losses by reducing the availability of existing health services, the quality of such services, or both.

In other words, the efficacy of Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez’s Medicare for All plan is based largely on assumptions about how much abuse the medical community is willing to take. IF they do their jobs exactly as they do now – AND accept 40% of the pay, everything will be fine!

Anyone care to place their bets on that happening?

Didn’t think so.

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