Study Says Bernie Sanders Economic Plan Would Cost $18 Trillion

Jayce Wagner

Bernie Sanders' economic plan would provide health coverage and education benefits for all Americans, but those benefits have a shocking price tag, according to a new study out today. The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy center and the Urban Institute Health Policy Center released a detailed breakdown of Bernie Sanders economic proposals today, concluding that the health coverage and education benefits Bernie has promised will cost around $18 trillion.

"The dramatic increase in government borrowing would crowd out private investment, raise interest rates, further increase government borrowing costs and retard economic growth," read the report, according to the New York Times.

"If every other major country can spend less on health care and insure all of their people, so can the U.S.," said the Bernie Sanders campaign in a statement released today.

The study calling into question whether or not Bernie Sanders' proposals are realistic for the U.S. economy states that the Vermont senator would have to raise taxes by more than $15 trillion over 10 years, with the largest portion of that added tax burden falling on the United States' top earners, but even then the taxes would fall short of cost estimates. Bernie Sanders has long been an advocate for social programs that would help the poor, the lower middle class, and students by promising health-care reform, family medical leave, and free undergraduate college education.

The Sanders proposals are wildly popular and have contributed significantly to his staying power in the Democratic presidential primary, but today's study calls on some of those supporters to pump the brakes and have a look at the hard numbers. The Sanders campaign, however, has released a statement calling into question the study's accuracy and referring to the numbers cited as a "wild overestimate" of how much the Bernie Sanders health care and education benefits would cost.

Bernie Sanders' proposed economic plan would cause, according to the study, the top 5 percent of American families – earning more than $650,000 in income – to pay an extra $110,000 in taxes every year.

The study also goes on to speculate on the potential long-term costs of the Bernie Sanders health plan, which calls for full and complete coverage for all Americans, without any insurance premiums, co-pays, or deductibles.

"It would be significantly more generous than current-law Medicare or typical private insurance," reads the study.

The new Bernie Sanders health care plan could, the study speculates, result in more Americans making use of health services -- since they would no longer have to pay out of pocket -- and could end up costing around $32 trillion over 10 years.

"Sanders would change what the government does for people in a very big way," said Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center.

The study released today has come under fire from the Sanders campaign, which could potentially offset some of the additional tax burden with a national sales tax, a measure which some European countries have enacted in order to help offset the cost of more robust social programs.

[Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images]