August 5, 2019 | Updates

Washington Post Ed Board: Medicare For All Doesn’t ‘Meet Baseline Degree Of Factual Plausibility’

WASHINGTON – In the wake of last week’s Democratic presidential debates, in which 2020 hopefuls such as Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) promoted Medicare for all, The Washington Post editorial board writes that calls for the one-size-fits-all government-run system fail to “meet a baseline degree of factual plausibility.”

… [P]roposals should meet a baseline degree of factual plausibility – a bar that, for example, the Medicare-for-all plan that Mr. Sanders and Ms. Warren favor does not clear … [T]he numbers behind the proposal simply do not compute: The senators cannot deliver a system that provides far more benefits than other single-payer systems they claim as their model while preserving the level of care and access that insured Americans currently enjoy.  They … should be honest about the trade-offs.

Notably, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently warned that, under Medicare for all, “patients might face increased wait times and reduced access to care,” and it “could also reduce the quality of care.”

And in an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews following Tuesday’s Democratic presidential debate, Senator Warren refused to answer “no fewer than ten times” when asked whether Americans would pay higher taxes under the Medicare for all system she supports.  While Warren, Sanders and other proponents of Medicare for all routinely claim that their government-run system would save Americans money, Bloomberg reports, “[f]or many Americans, though, that would not be true,” and “higher taxes would exceed any savings … [T]he 181 million taxpayers with employer-sponsored coverage could miss out on the benefits of the Sanders plan, and even those receiving Medicaid could pay more, according to health-care policy experts on both sides of the political spectrum … [Senator Bernie] Sanders has proposed a wealth tax, a bank levy and premiums paid by employers and employees.  But that 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.”

Fact-checkers for The Washington Post note that “[a]ccording to a study from the Urban Institute (and a follow-up paper), Medicare-for-all would still add $32.6 trillion to national health spending over 10 years.”  And CNN reports that “[t]ax experts … say that you can’t raise enough money from taxing the rich and that the levies on all Americans may exceed the savings for more people than Sanders expects.  This may be particularly true of low-income folks who get heavily subsidized coverage on the Obamacare exchanges.”

A national poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation earlier this year found that 60 percent oppose Medicare for all when they learn it would require most Americans to pay higher taxes.  And The Associated Press reports that “[g]overnment surveys show that about 90% of the population has coverage, largely preserving gains from President Barack Obama’s years.  Independent experts estimate that more than one-half of the roughly 30 million uninsured people in the country are eligible for health insurance through existing programs.



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