New study puts cost of Sanders’ ‘Medicare for All’ at $32 trillion

A new study places $32 trillion price tag on single-payer A bill from Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to expand Medicare to all Americans would cost the federal government $32.6 trillion over the next decade.

The study released Monday from the Mercatus Center think tank at George Mason University, comes as progressive Democrats are making “Medicare for All” a top issue in their campaigns ahead of the 2018 midterms.

Mercatus looks at the bill that Sanders released back in September 2017 to convert Medicare into a government-run, socialized healthcare system for all ages. Sanders’ bill would eliminate employer-provided insurance and have health insurance covered for everyone by the federal government.

Though Mercatus is known for having free market lean, a 2016 analysis of Sanders’ presidential campaign single-payer plan also found it would increase federal spending by $32 trillion as the federal government absorbs healthcare spending from states and private businesses.

Mercatus called its estimates “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.” Doctors and hospitals would be paid far less under Sanders’ bill.

The bill would pay all doctors and hospitals under the same rate as Medicare, which pays about 40 percent less compared to reimbursements from employer-sponsored plans. Mercatus does not factor in the impact that these lower rates will have on the healthcare system in the study, providers would face a financial strain.

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