Ahead of the 2016 Democratic Debates, Bernie Sanders’ health care plan has been released to the public. It promises universal health care by providing “Medicare for all,” but the so-called “Berniecare” also costs trillions of dollars per year. How will this gigantic increase in government spending be paid for? By creating new U.S. taxes, of course.
The Vermont Senator released a press statement late into Sunday, and he made it clear from the start that he’s wanting to turn Obamacare into full universal health care.
“Universal health care is an idea that has been supported in the United States by Democratic presidents going back to Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman,” Sanders said. “It is time for our country to join every other major industrialized nation on earth and guarantee health care to all citizens as a right, not a privilege.”
Bernie Sanders’ health care plan would greatly expand upon the Affordable Care Act. Although the U.S government would essentially be replacing the health insurance industry, he claims “patients would be able to choose their own doctors and receive comprehensive care for everything from hospital stays to emergency room visits to primary and specialty care.”
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Bernie Sanders’ campaign claims the Medicare For All plan would save $6 trillion over 10 years. They based this assertion upon an analysis by Gerald Friedman, an economist at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
The key takeaway from the press release is how it will be paid for by the average person living in the United States. The current health care system under Obamacare costs about $3 trillion per year, with Medicare and Medicaid spending accounting for about $1.2 trillion of that amount. Sanders health care plan hopes to save money by reducing the overall cost “by eliminating expensive and wasteful private health insurance.”
The new taxes will affect everyone, presumably including the middle class. The statement notes that the “average working family now pays $4,955 in premiums for private insurance and spends another $1,318 on deductibles for care that isn’t covered,” while the Medicare For All program would cost $466 per year. While the cost out of pocket is reduced, everyone will still have a 2.2 percent increase in their federal income taxes. The stated rate may not affect the poor, since Sanders promises to make “changes in the tax code to make federal income tax rates more progressive,” but the exact details are not specified.
Berniecare also promises to save businesses “more than $9,400 a year in health care costs under Sanders’ plan,” although a new business tax will include a “6.2 percent health care payroll tax paid by employers.” Sanders also promises to end business tax breaks which subsidize the current health care system in America.
Higher taxes for the rich are also bundled into Sander’s health care plan. The 2016 tax bracket maxes out at a 39.6 percent income tax rate based upon a single person making more than $415,050. Sanders would increase the top tax rate to 52 percent, although this tax bracket would only apply to those earning more than $10 million a year. Americans making between $250,000 to $500,000 a year would also see a tax increase with a 37 percent income tax rate. This tax plan would essentially merge two current tax brackets into a higher level, since earners making $190,150 to $413,350 are taxed at 33 percent, while $413,350 to $415,050 is taxed at 35 percent.
As might be expected, Republicans are already criticizing Bernie Sanders’ health care plan. Even as the Democratic Debates started, Jeb Bush was blasting Berniecare on Twitter.
Berniecare vs Hillarycare is a debate without a difference. They’ll both double-down on government controlled health care. #DemDebate
— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) January 18, 2016
Hillary Clinton also believes the current Affordable Care Act can be made to work over the long term.
— New Republic (@NewRepublic) January 18, 2016
What do you think about Bernie Sanders’ health care plan?
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