October 21, 2019 | Updates

Bloomberg: Refusal To Admit Medicare For All’s Middle Class Tax Hikes ‘Wrong’ … ‘Risible’ & ‘Bewildering’

WASHINGTON – Asproponents of Medicare for All continue to obfuscate about the unaffordable tax hikes middle class families would be hit with under a new government-controlled health insurance system, Bloomberg’s editorial board writes that “candidates owe voters an honest accounting” of the costs associated with such proposals.  They write:

Even many Democrats are criticizing Senator Elizabeth Warren for refusing to admit, in plain words, that her Medicare for All plan will require taxes to increase.  They’re right to complain.  The point could hardly be simpler: All presidential candidates owe voters an honest accounting of what their ideas will cost and how they’ll be paid for.  Up to now, under repeated questioning, Warren has refused to go further than saying that her health plan will lower costs for most Americans, without ever explaining what she means by costs.  A program as expensive as this instantly raises the question of affordability in voters’ minds.  There’s only one plausible answer: Taxes will have to go up.  Warren’s reluctance to use the word “tax” in the same sentence as “Medicare for All” is not just wrong; it’s bewildering.  The idea that voters won’t worry about how to finance the plan unless somebody says “tax” is an insult to their intelligence and a blatant attempt at evasion.  As a tactic, it’s risible, and the attacks Warren is facing on the matter only underline its uselessness.  Warren has explicitly endorsed the Medicare for All plan devised by her fellow candidate Senator Bernie Sanders.  He is happy to explain that his plan will cost trillions of dollars, that taxes will rise to pay for it, and that most taxpayers – so he claims – will nonetheless be better off once you consider that they and their employers will no longer pay health-insurance premiums.  Questionable as his claim may be, he at least acknowledges that expensive public programs have to be paid for.  This is surely the minimum that voters are entitled to expect.

CNN notes that the “repeated dodges on questions about whether Medicare for All would result in higher taxes … laid bare the political risks of Warren’s backing of Sanders’ Medicare for All, and foreshadowed that she is likely to continue confronting questions and criticism about tax hikes that could result from Sanders’ proposal.”

Shedding additional light on some of these new unaffordable costs, a new study from the Urban Institute finds “that federal spending on health care would increase by roughly $34 trillion under a single-payer plan similar to Medicare for All,” CNN reports.Ronald Brownstein of The Atlantic notes that that “eye-popping” cost is “more than the federal government will spend over the coming decade on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid combined.” 

And as supporters of Medicare for All also continued to incorrectly claim on the debate stage that Medicare for All would “lower overall costs for all but the wealthiest Americans,” Bloomberg reports that without taxing the middle class, Warren is “$30 Trillion Short of Paying for Her Health Plan.” 

“Her taxes as they currently exist are not enough yet to cover fully replacing health insurance,” University of California, Berkeley economics professor Emmanuel Saez, who advised the Warren campaign when developing the wealth tax, told Bloomberg News on Wednesday … Sanders acknowledged in Tuesday’s debate that “taxes will go up,” but neither of them have detailed how much or who those taxes would hit … “She is offering a Medicare for All plan and not offering even close to enough to pay for it,” said Kyle Pomerleau, the chief economist at the conservative Tax Foundation … [T]here wouldn’t be enough revenue from top earners and corporations to fund the estimated $30 trillion 10-year cost for Medicare for All.  She’d have to find more revenue streams and that would have to include increasing taxes on the middle class, according to public finance experts across the political spectrum.

The fact is, “[t]here’s no possible way to finance [Medicare for All] without big middle class tax increases,” Marc Goldwein of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) explained to The Washington Post.  And, “economists say that most taxpayers would pay more in taxes than they would save from having the federal government absorb the cost of health-care premiums,” The Post also reports.  Additionally, “71% of households with private insurance would wind up paying more than they would under the current system,” Kenneth Thorpe, chairman of the health policy and management department at Emory University, told The Wall Street Journal.

Bloomberg previously reported that “for many [Americans], higher taxes would exceed any savings … [T]he 181 million taxpayers with employer-sponsored coverage could miss out on the benefits of [Medicare for All], and even those receiving Medicaid could pay more, according to health-care policy experts on both sides of the political spectrum … [A] wealth tax, a bank levy and premiums paid by employers and employees … only raises about half of what is needed, meaning that payroll taxes and income tax increases would necessarily have to be part of the plan.”



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