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Here’s How Much Bernie Sanders Wants to Tax You to Pay for Government-Run Health Care

If Bernie Sanders goes by his campaign blueprint, you’ll be paying hundreds of dollars more per year in taxes. Your employer will be taxed more, which may impact your wages.

Sanders at a hearing

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is rolling out his “Medicare for All” proposal on Wednesday with the support of more than a dozen Democratic senators. One question Sanders and his allies have yet to answer, though, is how to pay for his proposal.

Sanders doesn’t answer that question in his New York Times op-ed on the bill. He only provides a few more details on the timeframe of “Medicare for All.”

The cost question is a critical one, though: various estimates suggest single-payer could cost America $2.5 trillion per year, a nearly 50-percent increase over what the entire government spent in 2014, the most recent year of data available.

But if we go by Sanders’ campaign proposal from 2016, a lot of Americans are going to pay more in taxes, all to let the government run their health care.

  • “A 2.2 percent income-based premium paid by households.” At a family-of-four income starting at $28,800, individuals start paying the tax. If that family is making $50,000, they’re paying $466 more in taxes.
  • “A 6.2 percent income-based health care premium paid by employers.” There are not many details on Sanders’ campaign site over how this would work, even though it’s the single-largest revenue source to pay for his plan. Needless to say, if employers have to devote six percent of their income to taxes, that’s going to have an impact on wages, prices, and more.

One important note: Sanders makes the above math work for a plan that costs $1.38 trillion per year, by his estimate. Independent estimates peg the cost at closer to $2.5 trillion per year.

What will Sanders do if his math doesn’t add up? We don’t know yet, but history would suggest he’ll want to raise taxes even more.