A Review of Reports on the Cost and Funding of Medicare-for-All
45 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2020
Date Written: May 12, 2020
In the US, 30 million people have no health insurance, and the per capita cost of health care is far higher than it is in other countries. To address these problems, many have advocated establishing Medicare-for-All (M4A). This paper reviews seven reports on the costs of M4A that were written by scholars of health economics in universities or private foundations that study health care. Two of these reports also describe in detail how the program might be funded. Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have also made suggestions for funding.
Judged from the conclusions of the seven reports, it appears that M4A would result in a net decrease in overall US healthcare costs of 5.7% on average. Under M4A, US health care would cost approximately $46,000 billion over 10 years. Over the same period, approximately $23,500 billion in new federal revenue would be needed in place of present-day payments from other sources.
This revenue could be raised in many different ways. In this review, 11 possible taxes and fees are highlighted in an example of how the necessary revenue could be raised. Under this example, it would not be necessary to impose a federal sales tax or any new taxes directly on low or middle income households, but high income households and wealthy Americans would likely pay higher taxes.
Keywords: Medicare-for-all, cost savings, single-payer health insurance, universal health care, national health insurance
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