BURLINGTON, Vt. – Bernie Sanders’ policy director, Warren Gunnels, released the following statement after the Tax Policy Center released an analysis of the senator’s proposals.
We are pleased the Tax Policy Center recognizes that a major part of Senator Sanders’ economic agenda – making public colleges and universities tuition free, substantially reducing student debt, expanding Social Security, and providing 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave – would help rebuild the middle class without increasing the deficit.
In terms of our health care plan, the good news is that the Tax Policy Center recognizes that Senator Sanders’ Medicare-for-all plan will provide health care as a right, not a privilege, to everyone in America – immediately covering more than 28 million uninsured Americans.
Even better, this report estimates that low-and-middle-income households would experience a much bigger increase in their income than our own projections. According to the Tax Policy Center, middle-income households would receive an average gain of more than $8,500 a year and low-income households would gain an average of $10,000 a year under Bernie’s Medicare-for-all plan.
By eliminating private health insurance premiums, deductibles, and co-payments, 95 percent of the American people will see their incomes go up through Bernie’s universal health care plan – which is what we have been saying throughout this campaign.
The bad news is that the Tax Policy Center wildly overestimates the cost of Senator Sanders’ health care plan.
The fact of the matter is that the U.S. spends far more per capita on health care with worse health outcomes than any major country on earth. And, unlike every major country on earth, over 28 million of our people are still uninsured.
In 2013, the U.S. spent about three times as much per capita on health care than Britain and about twice as much as Canada and France. If every other major country can spend less on health care and insure all of their people, so can the U.S.
Here is where the Tax Policy Center is wrong:
First, it assumes that state and local governments will dump all of their health care obligations onto the federal government at a cost of $4.1 trillion over the next decade. That is categorically false. Bernie’s plan requires state and local governments to maintain their current levels of health care spending – a maintenance of effort that has been upheld by the courts.
Secondly, this study significantly underestimates the savings in administration, paperwork, and prescription drug prices that every major country on earth has successfully achieved by adopting a universal health care program.
The Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) has estimated that we could save nearly $500 billion annually on paperwork and administration alone – enough savings not only to provide universal coverage to the uninsured, but also to eliminate deductibles, co-payments, and co-insurance for everyone in America. Hospitals currently spend over 25 percent on administrative costs in this country, but just 12.4 percent in Canada.
Third, the authors of this report estimate that the cost of our plan would be about $8 trillion more than even the highest cost estimates to date — estimates that have already been debunked by the experts at Physicians for a National Health Program.
At a time when 50 million Americans are uninsured or underinsured we must guarantee health care as a right so that no American is one bad illness or accident away from financial catastrophe. Doing so will make the U.S. a healthier and more productive country.