Fiscal Watchdog Finds Bernie’s Healthcare Plan Could Blow $20 Trillion Hole in Federal Budget

Sanders Bernie healthcare plan budgetAccording to a new report by a nonpartisan fiscal watchdog organization, all of the healthcare proposals from the four leading Democratic candidates could create trillion-dollar deficits if enacted. And the biggest deficit hole would come from Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All plan which — in the worst-case scenario — could add nearly $20 trillion in federal debt.

That’s the finding of The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB), which is widely respected due to its academic approach to budget issues and its bipartisan leadership, including co-chairs Mitch Daniels, (who served as director of the Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush) and former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta.

“For each plan, we score the fiscal impact of coverage and other spending provisions, reductions in current and proposed health care costs, direct offsets proposed as part of their plans to expand coverage, and further offsets meant to finance remaining costs,” the CRFB report states. The organization created three separate estimates of costs and coverage — high-cost, low-cost and central. Then using the central estimate they project that over 10 years:

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden’s plan would add $800 billion to deficits;
  • Senator Elizabeth Warren’s health plan would add $6.1 trillion to deficits;
  • Senator Bernie Sanders’s health plan would add $13.4 trillion to deficits;
  • Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s plan would save $450 billion.

This fiscal analysis is particularly timely given the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) new Budget and Economic Outlook released Tuesday projecting a federal deficit of $1 trillion in 2020, adding to the more than $23 trillion in current debt.

The report repeatedly reminds readers that the CRFB is operating on relatively little specific information about the plans. “While the candidates have proposed significant new tax and spending policies, the detail and specificity on their campaign websites is less than what would appear in legislation. Furthermore, few of the specific policies have been scored by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), and many have not been estimated in their current forms by impartial sources,” the report states.

It does, however, offer an apples-to-apples comparison of the candidates’ proposals when it comes to the number of people they would insure and the impact on the federal budget.

If providing healthcare to all Americans is a voter’s top priority, for example, then Sanders and Warren offer the way to go:

“We estimate Biden would reduce the number of uninsured by 15 to 20 million… while Buttigieg would reduce the number of uninsured by 20 to 30 million. Both Warren and Sanders would reduce the number of uninsured by 30 to 35 million by offering universal Medicare for All coverage to virtually every U.S. resident,” the report states.

For voters concerned about adding a new entitlement to the federal budget, Pete Buttigieg has the only plan that theoretically reduces deficits in the central estimate. In the CRFB’s high-cost estimate, all of the plans cost more than they bring in, but in their low-cost estimates every plan lowers the deficit — except Sanders. His Medicare For All proposal adds nearly $9 trillion in debt under the rosiest of scenarios and nearly $20 trillion at the high end.

All of the plans rely on massive tax hikes and revenue increases, ranging from Joe Biden’s $1 trillion to Warren’s $20 trillion, along with various forms of government-imposed price and cost controls. These policies would impact the healthcare market, however the CRFB’s report doesn’t look at the broader economic impact of the plans.

“Health reform is about how much we pay in total and who runs the system, but it’s also about who pays how much. From a fiscal policy perspective, reducing or eliminating premiums and cost-sharing is much more significant than the impact of having the government playing a larger direct role of financing health spending,” the CRFB’s Marc Goldwein told InsideSources.

Some economists who spoke to InsideSources agree with the premise but argue that their viewpoint is just too narrow.

“Several years ago, I wrote that an explicit shift toward greater government control over healthcare would probably not be as earthshattering as many conservatives fear, because government involvement in healthcare is already so pervasive that our system acts even now like a quasi-single-payer system,” said Robert F. Graboyes, senior research fellow on health and technology as the Mercatus Center. “Ending out-of-pocket costs would almost certainly have a greater impact, because it would expand demand for healthcare without expanding the supply of healthcare resources.

“The tax impact might well have the greatest impact were we to move to Medicare for All; almost certainly, Congress would have to finance the program using enormous tax increases on income and/or wages, thereby creating powerful disincentives to investment and work. This is an argument I first heard from CRFB’s Marc Goldwein, and I find it highly persuasive,” Graboyes said.

Healthcare expert Avik Roy of The Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity (FREOPP) told InsideSources, “I have great respect for CRFB as an organization, but I don’t agree with their analysis. They say that the Warren plan will increase the deficit by $6.1 trillion over 10 years. Our analysis found it will increase the deficit by $15 trillion. And that’s just the Warren plan.”

“The FREOPP report specifically addresses the marketplace issue: “Elimination of patient cost-sharing will lead to soaring demand for health care services,” Roy writes. “The Warren plan does nothing to increase the supply of health care providers to keep pace with this soaring demand. Those whose incomes or wealth are below the U.S. median will have the most difficulty accessing care in such an environment.”

Marc Palazzo, executive director of the Coalition Against Socialized Medicine, also notes the unintended impact of the Democrats’ approach. “A government takeover of the health care industry comes with a hefty price tag of up to $52 trillion, a price that would inevitably be paid for with crushing taxes and a mountain of new national debt — and that doesn’t account for the human cost.”

“Implementing socialist price controls on the very innovative treatments that help save lives would radically reduce biopharmaceutical innovation. There is no doubt these plans would cause more harm than good for the patients they are supposed to serve,” Palazzo said.

Reprinted with permission from - Inside Sources - by Michael Graham

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1 year ago

Controlling healthcare is the cornerstone of “Socialism” Wonder why the 44th spent his first term on controlling healthcare not the economy? Government will determine the premium with automatic deductions from ones paycheck, SS, your one size fits all coverage, when it will begin and when it will end, the doctor you can see etc. Life and death left in the hands of the Government? All about power and greed>

1 year ago

Call a spade a spade. Bernie and his ilk are COMMUNISTS. Vladimir Lenin said “The goal of socialism is communism.” And what about after Trump’s 8 years? If we do not outlaw the pushing of socialism/communistic ideals in our public schools, the next generation will all be socialists and everything Trump has done will be for naught. Trump needs to pass a constitutional amendment that requires Americanism be taught in public schools and it is illegal to teach ideals contrary to Americanism in public schools. The American taxpayer pays public school teachers to push socialism, even if you do not have a child in school. We are funding the indoctrination of our children. If this doesn’t stop, we should not be shocked that 70% of millennials support socialism.

Michael J
1 year ago

People usually don’t care what anything costs when they’re not paying for it. The exception is those who are on food stamps. I’ve noticed that they tend to shop where they get the most stuff for our tax paid socialism food programs, how magnanimous. As for medical, welfare recipients tend to get better tiered medical coverage than most on medicare plus dental. There ought to be a law.

Sherry Loret
1 year ago

First all Sanders shouldn’t even be running he’s had 1 heart attack already,none of these have Americans in mine .Medicare was for those who earned ,it’s not for all,except those who earned it!

1 year ago

Do you ever here these socialist-communist quoting and admiring our Constitution and laws the way they were written?? No. That should tell us something!!!

1 year ago

Of course Bernie’s plan will blow a $20 TRILLION…hole in America’s deficit.
THAT is why the real facts are NOT being shared, or just flatly being ignored.
THAT DEFICIT…and the control of every Citizen/Serf…is their intended plan!

Bob L.
1 year ago

Budget, what budget? How long has it been since there was one? The federal government has been operating on continuing resolutions for years that give them license to create the hundreds of billions of dollars they spend out of thin air. The Infernal Revenue Service is an obsolete agency since spending has far outgrown what they collect in taxes. Since 1971 when Nixon signed away the last tie of the U.S. dollar to gold, government spending has taken off and continues to climb like an F-18 in full afterburner. The feds were the first to utilize crypto-currency as their own private means of funding – money out of thin air worth nothing but digits in a computer system. That is THE source of inflation and sooner or later – hyperinflation. It’s just a matter of time before they lose control of the scam and a postage stamp may cost billions of dollars like the German’s paid in the early 1920’s and the people in Zimbabwe now spend trillion dollar bills like we now spend ones. In the early 1960’s, a new house for a middle income family cost about $25-35 thousand. “Oh, but that was then, not now, thing cost more now” you say. Yes, and it’s because of nothing more than the UNSECURED VALUE of the almighty dollar since 1971 and unrestrained government spending that goes along with it. The value of the dollar was pegged at $35 per ounce of gold until 1971, today it floats and now an ounce of gold costs you around $1,100 to $1,200 per ounce. It’s not that gold is worth more now, it’s simply that the dollar is worth much less. That’s also why silver was removed from our coinage during the Johnson administration.

1 year ago

AWWWWH Bernie is a good show. May be wrong,but at least he is honest about it. GO TRUMP.

1 year ago

Bernie’s base are the mental midgets incapable of critical thought. Bernie the promoter of moral decay having one believe that their status in life is always the fault of others and not of their own making, Do as a I say, not as I do. He and his like with an insatiable drive for power and greed at tax payers expense!

Politics: The art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, then applying the wrong remedies!

1 year ago

“All of the plans rely on massive tax hikes” for those who pay taxes. Evidently by The Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity’s estimates, that’s a conservative estimate. Nearly a hundred years ago someone said, “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch” but evidently the other expression about “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” is becoming more and more prevalent. Not only do today’s millennials and Generation Z members forget the past, they are trying to re-write it. I saw something recently that said something along the lines of, “if you’re not at least a little embarrassed about America’s history, you don’t know American history.” While I love America, warts and all, I at least accept that there have been things that were done that should not have been, there’s no amount of re-writing those things (or tearing down the statues) that will ever erase them.

True American
1 year ago

If Bernie got elected he really could give a hoot on how it would get paid for after all he will be long dead and gone before there was any thought of actually paying for his dream of destroying America.

Joseph C. Moore [USN Ret.]
1 year ago

What budget? The 22 Trillion debt is much more money [paper] than is in circulation now. For all the great progress that president Trump has made for this country, the expanding, unsustainable debt is a HUGE blot on his presidency. In addition to his beneficial tactics, I want to see fiscal responsibility by LOWERING the [Unsustainable] debt. Our forefathers are rolling in their graves at this proliferating burden.

Candace Warren
1 year ago

Bernie Sanders is a Socialist, and possibly, a Communist. He has been thus, for his entire life. He should NOT be running on a Democrat ticket, but they allowed him to do so, in order to promote Hillary Clinton. They used him, and now, their chickens have come home to roost. Now, they are threatened by the number of supporters he has. This man must never be POTUS. None of the dishes they are serving up, are worthy to be on the table, much less the main course.

Voice of truth
1 year ago

Bernie is a true disciple of Karl Marx. Marx knew all about the working people ( Marx worked in a newspaper and pontificated on the working class and Bernie knows all about “health care”, His drug usage makes him an expert in the field.

1 year ago

Lets face it Bernies plan is a disaster and I hope and pray it doesn’t happen I give some credit to Obama for enacting a health plan even if it is flawed

1 year ago

Since America jettisoned the gold standard, the government just prints more money, and we are being screwed in their inept and numb decisions.

1 year ago

Why do the democrats hate AMERICA so much that they would be so intent on undoing all of the good that our AMERICAN President has done.WHY,because they are vindictive and intent on furthering”barry’s”screw AMERICA agenda.

Joe McHugh
1 year ago

Gosh darn! (I would use stronger verbiage but the site censors would intervene.)

OK, here is the what the controversy about health care is all about, as I see it. The liberals call access to health care, a “right”. I cannot lay my finger on that clause in the Constitution that described health care as being a right. The medical community operates on a commercial basis, i.e. pay for service. Since when has any service become a “right”? Everything costs money, even medical care.

In our free society, all competent healthy adults are expected to earn the money for everything that has a price tag. A righteous society should only provide care for those that are truly disadvantaged in body or mind, ….citizens who are simply unable to earn their own way. Emergency medical treatment for the average citizen has to be provided, but the patient must be held responsible for the costs. Worst case scenario, the patient must provide community service for taxpayer paid medical welfare. Motivation? There are some jobs that are so unpleasant that the receiver of public benevolence would jump at the chance to pay his obligation by doing something else.

Those who call for government control of health care are simply socialists. Those that maintain that the government should not, …..must not provide taxpayer money for individual needs, are fiscal conservatives. Thomas Jefferson said: ” The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work, and give to those who would not.”

Any person who calls for government freebies, of any sort, should be able to convince the taxpayers why they need to be taxed until their knees buckle. You know, make Peter happy about being forced to pay for Paul’s responsibilities.

1 year ago

Bernie is not only a true commie, but a certifiable crackpot as well. Absolutely none his ideas or programs are feasible without throwing the whole economy into a deep depression!

t corwin
1 year ago

I don’t see any consideration for the drop in the financial standing of the USA in the world market. If our economy is that far in debt then it would stand to reason our international rating would go down and increase the interest rate on monies owed.

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