Medicare for All Should Die of Natural Causes - Granite Grok

Medicare for All Should Die of Natural Causes

Medicare for All Should Die of Natural Causes

New research shows that under “Medicare for All,” three quarters of Americans would be worse off financially, according The Heritage Foundation. Most Americans would pay more in new taxes than they would save from no longer paying for private health care and that includes many of those not making much right now.

That is the reality.


Medicare for All advocates are telling a different story. Bernie Sanders promises most people will be better off with Medicare for All. Bernie says that’s why it’s worth it to make such a massive change to our health care system. The plan would abolish private coverage. It also forces everyone onto the government run plan.

Sanders asked at a Fox News town hall “Are people going to pay more in taxes? … Yes. But at the end of the day, the overwhelming majority of people are going to end up paying less for health care because they aren’t paying premiums, co-payments, or deductibles.”

Heritage Foundation’s Ed Haislmaier and Jamie Hall took a look at this claim.  They found the politicians are promising more than they can deliver.  It turns out Medicare for All would cost some working families more than their budget for electricity; others, their gasoline budget; and others, even more than their food budget.

Actual results

As a result, 73.5% of Americans will have less money in their pockets under Medicare for All. That will lower their standard of living. Most people in America today have healthcare coverage. The additional cost is largely without additional benefit. The cost of the new taxes they have to pay will be more than what they save on health care costs.

Households receiving employer sponsored coverage would be particularly hard hit. Their income after taxes would shrink by an average of $10,554, and 87% of them would be financially worse off. Even lower-income working families, which currently get health care through government programs like Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, would be worse off. Their average household income after taxes would decline by $5,592 per year. Fully paying for these programs requires taxes to go up; a lot.

Those pushing for Medicare for All have left out some essential details.  No legislative sponsor of this plan has offered a way to fully pay for its promises. Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., have put out plans that don’t fully pay for what they’ve promised to provide. They overestimate the revenue their new taxes on the rich could raise. Medicare for All should die of natural causes.

How other countries fund single payer

The Heritage study uses the same means to pay for government health care as other developed country use: payroll taxes.  They ran the numbers and found Medicare for All requires an additional tax of 21.2 cents on every dollar that every American earns. For comparison, today most workers and their employers pay 15.3 cents on the dollar in payroll taxes.

What this means to the average American is: Adding Medicare for All taxes on top of the existing taxes we would see almost half their income taken by the government.  We know if average Americans are faced with that kind of tax increase, some would cut back on work hours or quit working altogether. That effect is not included in the Heritage study. The study assumes all Americans would continue to work just as much as before. Their employers convert current health insurance spending into additional taxable wages. Under these conditions, here’s how several families would fare with Medicare for All:

Who pays what:

An unmarried mother of two earning $31,000 a year. She would be worse off by $1,547.  Under Medicare for All, she would lose almost exactly the amount she spends on electricity every year. Today, she gets her health coverage through her job. Her children get their coverage through the Child Health Insurance Program. Under Medicare for All her current health costs go away but she’ll still lose $1,547, or 5.3%, of her disposable income.

A median income married couple earning about $98,000, with two kids and employer health benefits. They would be worse off by $9,201. Today, they get their health coverage from dad’s employer. Under Medicare for All, their health costs go away. But they’d still lose $9,021, or 13.3%, of their disposable income about as much as they spend on food today.

A lower middle income married couple earning nearly $50,000, with two kids and employer health benefits.  They would be $1,619 worse off. Today, they get health coverage through mom’s job. Under Medicare for All, their health costs would go away. But they would still lose $1,619, or 4.4%, in disposable income. That’s about as much as they spend today on gasoline.

A median income unmarried person without dependents would be $3,542 worse off.  Today, he/she/it earns about $41,000 getting health coverage through work. Under Medicare for All, his health costs would go away. But he’ll still lose $3,542, or 13%, of his disposable income. That’s about as much as he spends today on car insurance and maintenance.

Drawing inferences:

Medicare for All would make most Americans worse off financially, not better. Good government helps its citizens. Making them poorer is not helpful. Less helpful is that Americans would be getting a lower quality product. Medicare for All should die of natural causes.

That comment is based on what we know of similar products in other countries. Wait times to receive care in Canada are longer than those in the U.S. In Britain, morale among doctors is low because they face more bureaucratic hurdles and larger workloads.

The status quo in America is not the solution. Costs here are too high and rising. The choices are too few and declining. Too many Americans feel that special interests and big government benefit from the current system.  The sentiment among average Americans is against special interests and big government.


Congress should work toward solutions. Unfortunately it has other priorities. Addressing the noted concerns at their root causes is needed. Medicare for All does not accomplish that, which is why Medicare for All should die of natural causes; too much cost and not enough benefits.