In response to a Op-ed in the Wall Street Journal about the cost of his proposals, Old Bernie wrote a letter to the editor and said this:
It is true that I proposed to extend the solvency of Social Security until the year 2065 and to expand benefits. This proposal would be offset by lifting the cap on taxable income above $250,000 a year.
But, here’s where the article is mistaken. While a Medicare-for-all program may cost $15 trillion over 10 years, this proposal would eliminate all payments made by Americans and businesses to health insurance companies. At a time when the U.S. spends substantially more per capita on health care than does any other country on earth, a single-payer health care program would substantially lower our total health care costs and would guarantee health care to all Americans. This approach would end the international embarrassment of the U.S. being the only major country on earth that doesn’t already do this. For The Wall Street Journal to ignore the enormous savings that Medicare-for-all would bring to our wildly inefficient and dysfunctional health care system is irresponsible.
Old Bernie is again demonstrating his naive perspective on life. First, raising the cap, even entirely from the current level, on Social Security taxes does not solve the current fiscal problems let alone allow for benefit improvements. Better read this Bernie and check with the Congressional Budget Office. Raising the tax cap only solves 45% of the problem. But you see, Old Bernie thinks you are not too bright. Look at what he says about fixing Social Security until 2065, that’s fifty years which is not the standard used by the Trustees and the CBO, which is 75 years for calculations.
Second, Old Bernie conveniently forgets what his own state Vermont found when it tried to implement a single-payer system. The fact that Americans and employers would not be making payments to insurance companies is irrelevant when you consider they would be making larger payments to the government. Further, virtually all large employers do not make any payments to insurance companies because they are self-insured. Their costs are actual claims paid plus fixed admin costs per employee.
And by the way Bernie, did you forget that in many of the countries you admire that employers and/or individuals buy supplemental coverage to cover services not covered by their single-payer systems or to avoid waiting for health care?
Finally Bernie, have you looked at the inefficiency, fraud and waste that characterizes Medicare? The enormous savings Bernie attributes to Medicare-for-all are an illusion because, in part, looking at Medicare and applying its administration to the below age-65 population is a mistake. It would not be paying or administering the same types of claims.
It seems that Old Bernie is more worried about “embarrassment” than practical solutions in the real world.