Bernie Sanders’ health care plan is expansive, to say the least. It would require revamping many parts of the government; it could increase the size of the federal government by up to 50% (NYT), impose a higher tax on the wealthy as well as a 6.2% payroll tax and 2.2% income-related premium applicable to all works (Huffington Post), all the while with claims to save trillions of dollars over the course of many years, theoretically balancing out and saving Americans more than what they’d be paying in increased taxes to fund this plan.
With such large ideas, there are bound to be equally as large criticisms; these criticisms come even from fellow liberals. One of Sanders’ biggest ideas is a single-payer health care system, which essentially means health care becomes de-privatized and the government assumes all its costs. The 2.2% tax described above is supposed to be the central player in paying for this system, but economists question whether or not this tax will yield enough (NYT).
Further, the usefulness of this plan for the upper-middle to upper-class is obviously questionable; they are likely wealthy enough to afford a privatized version of all of what Sanders’ is proposing without suffering increased tax cuts. Under the plan, they’d end up spending more.
Lastly, for a single-payer health care system to function without financially ruining itself, it has to make decisions on which treatments it wants to cover. This means the government makes this choice. Just because coverage is provided by the government doesn’t mean everything is covered. The government cannot cover absolutely everything and hold down its costs, so there will still be instances where Americans will be left without coverage for some (likely more expensive) treatments due to the government having to balance costs (New Yorker).
- Do you think the criticisms of Sanders’ plan are valid? Whether the ones you see here or others you’ve heard.
- What do you think about single-payer?
- How do you think the upper-middle to upper-class is going to be affected? Will they in fact lose more than they’ll gain?