Price tags

May 5, 2019 |

Several Democratic Presidential hopefuls are promising “Medicare For All,” and when asked how to pay for it, they offer detailed responses such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “You just pay for it!  You’re paying more now!” 


But are we paying more now?  The proponents of “Medicare For All” can’t tell us how much it will cost, so how do they know it will cost less than we’re paying now?  Especially considering that every local effort at single-payer health care has immediately run way over budget (“unexpectedly!”) and had to be reeled back.


Only conservatives are big enough buzzkills to actually try putting a price tag on “Medicare For All.”  The latest is economist Charles Blahous of George Mason University, who testified recently before the House Rules Committee on his findings.  He estimates that over the first 10 years, depending on whether it works exactly as predicted (it won’t) or goes over budget (it will), it would add between $32.6 and $38.8 trillion in new costs to the federal government.  That averages out to about $3.5 trillion a year in new costs to a government that already spends about $4 trillion a year total, and a trillion of that is borrowed money piled onto the $22 trillion national debt. 


Blahous said that even if we doubled both individual and corporate income tax rates, it wouldn’t raise enough money to cover even the lower-end cost estimate. 


And if you’re guessing that some Democrats will reply to that by suggesting we "just pay for it" by tripling income tax rates, they’re already way ahead of you.


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