Another analysis has found that Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders' ambitious Medicare-for-all plan would not come close to raising enough revenue to pay for itself.
The analysis by the Urban Institute's Health Policy Center and the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center found that federal expenditures under Sanders' plan would increase by $32 trillion from 2017 to 2026 while his revenue proposals would raise $15.3 trillion in the same time period. Both organizations are bipartisan.
The cost estimate is significantly higher than the Sanders' campaign figure of $14 trillion over 10 years and slightly higher than an analysis from the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which also found revenue coming up short.
Len Burman, director of the Tax Policy Center, said the Vermont senator's proposal is the most progressive he's seen, but it would need broader tax increases to avoid a deficit that could be “very damaging to the economy.”
A recent study of Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton's policy proposals found her plans on healthcare and several other areas, including higher education, infrastructure and energy, coming much closer to even, lacking about $200 billion in revenue from 2017 to 2026.
Clinton has called Sanders' plan for a single-payer system “a promise that can't be kept” and said Congress would never pass it anyway. Clinton appears steadily on her way to securing the nomination, but has been dogged by Sanders' recent primary wins.
Both campaigns call for raising taxes on the wealthy as a way to help reach a goal of universal health coverage.
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates that Clinton's plans for expanding the Affordable Care Act, including limits to out-of-pocket spending and an increase in premium subsidy amounts, would cost about $300 billion over 10 years.
Clinton's plan for full repeal of the so-called Cadillac tax on high-end health plans, which is already delayed until 2020, would cost about $100 billion. Prescription drug costs would be reduced by about $250 billion through allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices and allow cheaper drugs to be imported, according to the analysis.
The Urban Institute analysis of Sanders' plan finds the greatest cost increase would be from providing acute-care services to those currently uninsured. It also assumes those who are already insured would use more services because cost-sharing would be eliminated.