Sanders Looks to Increase the Scope of his Already Costly Healthcare Plan

  • Sanders wants to eliminate all medical debt.
  • Estimates put the cost of single payer healthcare at $32 trillion over ten years.
  • Universal healthcare gives the government incredible power over private industry.

Senator Bernie Sanders, the self-described Democratic Socialist, has been constantly and consistently attacking the American medical industry. The Presidential hopeful has long championed Medicare for all and has criticized the healthcare industry as being “insane and cruel.” Many economists fear that the staggering cost of Sanders’ single payer healthcare plan could cripple the economy.

Single-payer healthcare is a type of universal healthcare financed by taxes that covers the costs of essential healthcare for all residents, with costs covered by a single public system (hence ‘single-payer’). Single-payer systems may contract for healthcare services from private organizations (as is the case in Canada) or may own and employ healthcare resources and personnel (as is the case in the United Kingdom). “Single-payer” describes the mechanism by which healthcare is paid for by a single public authority, not the type of delivery or for whom physicians work, which may be public, private, or a mix of both.

Despite these mounting fears, Sanders has not backed down on his universal healthcare plan and seems to actually be increasing its scope. During a recent townhall in South Carolina Sanders vowed to “eliminate medical debt in this country.” The Vermont Senator said his team is working on legislation that would effectively erase all medical debt in the country. This proposition is reminiscent to an earlier one made by Sanders to eliminate the $1.6 trillion in student loan debt.

The current cost of Medicare is around $700 million, or around 16% of the total U.S. budget. In 2016 Sanders claimed that his Medicare for all plan would only cost the taxpayer around $1.4 trillion, a high price, but one that is suspiciously low. Currently Medicare covers around 15% of the population. While it’s true that as people age their medical costs tend to increase, it’s rather unbelievable that that you could increase the scope of people on Medicare by almost seven times and only double the cost.

Bernie Sanders is the junior U.S. Senator from Vermont. At 77, he would be the oldest person elected President of the United States.

A much more realistic estimate pegs the cost of Sanders’ single payer healthcare plan at around $32 trillion over ten years. This estimate is provided by the Urban Institute, a left leaning think tank based in Washington D.C. Using this estimate, it’s reasonable to say that a single payer healthcare plan would nearly double the U.S. budget of $4.4 trillion and would subsequently double taxes. The projected economic strain of a Universal healthcare plan has caused several states, including North Carolina, California, and even Senator Sanders’ home state of Vermont, to abandon the idea. Predictions put the costs at double or even triple the states’ current yearly budgets.

The fiscal costs of Sanders’ plan are concerning, but possibly just as concerning is the massive amount of power the government would gain over private industry and the threat to the quality of healthcare that could bring. Although Sanders’ plan is not true socialized medicine, as is seen in Great Britain, it does afford the government an incredible amount of power when it comes to healthcare, health insurance, and citizens’ medical choices.

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Kyle Reynolds

I'm a young writer who for a long time has been fascinated by history, politics, economics, and everything else that makes the world go round. I love to hear from my readers and can be contacted at

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