Veteran socialist Bernie Sanders hopes that his huge giveaway plans will persuade the American public to vote him into the White House this November. The keystone of those plans is Medicare for All, a grandiose scheme that — as the name implies — would make everyone in the US eligible for Medicare. It’s an attention-grabbing idea, and a lot of Americans do like the idea of socialized medicine, in principle. The devil is in the details though, and the most important of these details is what it’s all going to cost. Bernie says he knows — but he doesn’t want to tell you.
Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) is basing his White House run on the promise of massive government spending and widespread entitlements. The biggest item is Medicare for All.
- Sanders wants an ambitious reform of healthcare that would see private insurance plans abolished and Medicare turned into a single-payer system like Health Canada.
- In countries that run similar systems, healthcare is usually the biggest expenditure on the government’s balance sheet — and their per capita costs are much smaller than the expense of Medicare. In fact, US government spending on Medicare is already higher, per capita, than UK spending on the National Health Service — and the NHS is open to all British citizens.
- With Medicare expanded to cover everyone in the US, costs would obviously rise sharply, but Sanders is being cagey about exactly how much they’d rise. In the past he’s claimed “nobody knows” what it would cost, or simply refused to name a figure.
- His rival Elizabeth Warren also wants Medicare for All, and she says her plan will cost an eye-watering $52 trillion. She claims that somehow she’ll spend this vast sum without increasing taxes on middle-class Americans. Bernie is at least honest enough to admit that taxes will go up to pay for it.
- What he isn’t honest enough to do is give a figure. Talking to the Washington Post on Thursday, he said he won’t tell anyone how much he thinks his plan will cost because it’s “such a huge number.”
- “I don’t give a number and I’ll tell you why,” Sanders told the paper. “It’s such a huge number and it’s so complicated that if I gave a number, you and 50 other people would go through it and say, ‘Oh … ‘”
- Sanders is still a real contender to be our next president, despite his antique socialist beliefs. Would he be as popular if the American people knew just how much he plans to tax and spend? Probably not — and that’s why he’s not giving any numbers.
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