On Health Care, Dems Backing a $2.5 Trillion Fix to an $85 Billion Problem

By NTK Staff | 09.12.2017 @10:45am
On Health Care, Dems Backing a $2.5 Trillion Fix to an $85 Billion Problem

Uncompensated care for the uninsured cost America $85 billion in 2013. Democrats want to fix that by getting every American on the same system, at the cost of $2.5 trillion.

Single-payer health care is no longer a litmus test in the Democratic Party. It’s the majority position.

Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “Medicare for All” bill earned the endorsements of potential 2020 presidential candidates Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) on Monday. Gillibrand and Booker are liberal senators, but before this week could hardly be considered democratic socialists.

Bernie’s single-payer bill, though, is uniting the Democratic Party. Gillibrand and Booker joined other potential 2020 contenders, like Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR), in supporting the costly and unpredictable plan.

Of course, Sanders and his allies are spending very little time talking about the cost of single-payer – estimated by one non-partisan analyst at $25 trillion over 10 years – and Sanders hasn’t proposed a way to pay for it in this year’s effort.

The reason? Democrats are supporting a $2.5 trillion per year fix to an $85 billion per year problem. How?

  • The uninsured rate has dipped from 18 percent in 2010 to 10 percent in 2016, thanks in part to private and Medicaid coverage gains under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). If the goal is “universal” health care, the focus should be on those 10 percent of Americans, not the other 90 percent who have health care.
  • The roughly 28 million Americans who don’t have health insurance cost the American health care system about $85 billion in uncompensated care in 2013. To cover these costs, or to insure these Americans at a lower rate, should cost around $85 billion or less.

For those keeping score, Democrats are ready to spend almost 30 times more than they have to just to advance some kind of positive agenda in the Trump era. Meanwhile, the national debt just surged past $20 trillion, as the minority party talks about spending $25 trillion more in the next 10 years.

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