She might as well have said she’d pay for the plan with leprechaun gold.
After being asked repeatedly how she would fund her Medicare for All plan, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) finally released the details, and they are as impossible as one can imagine.
For starters, Warren’s 2020 campaign claims her plan to fund single-payer health care in America would not raise taxes on the middle class, something her opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has admitted would be necessary.
Warren’s plan would cost $52 trillion over 10 years, but remember, there is no sunset for the single-payer program. It would cost more than $5 trillion a year. For comparison, the federal government spent an already alarming $4.11 trillion in fiscal year 2018, up from $3.99 trillion in fiscal year 2017.
“Medicare for All puts all health care on the government’s books. But Medicare for All is about the same price as our current path — and cheaper over time,” said Warren, whose plan would cost $52 trillion over the next 10 years. “That means the debate isn’t really about whether the United States should pay more or less. It’s about who should pay.”
Warren says she can add that amount to the economy without crushing the middle class, by predictable cuts to military spending and tax hikes on the wealthy, the latter of which is likely unconstitutional.
Many of Warren’s pay-fors highlight the improbability of her plan. Politico’s chief Washington correspondent, Ryan Lizza, noted that Warren has rolled in immigration reform as a way to fund Medicare-for-All.
“To get a sense of how enormously difficult it is to raise the money to pay for Medicare for All, look at this section of the Warren proposal where she says that comprehensive immigration reform, a Herculean legislative feat that Bush and Obama failed at, will help pay for M4A,” Lizza tweeted.
The immigration reform portion of Warren’s plan claims that providing a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants and expanding legal immigration would increase federal revenue to fund her plan. “Based on [the Congressional Budget Office’s] analysis of the 2013 comprehensive immigration reform bill, experts project that immigration reform would generate an additional $400 billion in direct federal revenue.”
But as Lizza pointed out, neither of the past two presidents have been able to achieve immigration reform, and it is unlikely Trump will be able to do the same. Democrats’ immigration plans — the parts granting citizenship to those who came here illegally or providing free government services for illegal immigrants — would not get much, if any, Republican support. It is highly unlikely that Warren would have veto-proof majorities in the congress to pass her proposal should she be elected president.
Another part of Warren’s funding plan suggests that properly collecting taxes “would generate $2.3 trillion in additional federal revenue without requiring the imposition of any new taxes” (emphasis added). The CBO, however, has determined that better enforcement from the IRS would raise just $55 billion over 10 years, but the necessary costs of funding the better enforcement would cost $20 billion, meaning just $35 billion would be raised. That’s far from Warren’s claims of $2.3 trillion.
Warren’s plan would also cut payments to doctors. This could not occur in a vacuum. Those cuts would be passed on to the patients, meaning that Warren’s claims that people would save money from her plan, based on current health care prices, is likely untrue.
“The most sweeping and controversial piece of her additions to Sanders’ bill is a pledge to pay most physicians current Medicare rates — which are much lower than private insurance rates but higher than Medicaid — and to pay hospitals slightly above Medicare rates. She argues that doctors will save money overall because they’ll be able to dedicate the hours they currently spend billing a swath of interlocking private and public insurance plans to providing care,” Politico reported. “But medical providers who are already mobilizing against Medicare for All are likely to take this as a declaration of war.”
In addition, Warren’s plan proposes increased taxes on employers, including new Medicare taxes her campaign says will raise nearly $9 trillion over the next 10 years to pay for her single-payer plan. The campaign said that if they fail to reach the targeted revenue, they could impose a “Supplemental Employer Medicare Contribution” on corporations with “extremely high executive compensation and stock buyback rates.” This “employer tax,” would likely be passed on to the workers in decreased wages.
Warren may be able to get away with saying she, unlike Sanders, won’t impose any new implicit taxes on the middle class, her plan will require additional funds from the middle class as taxes, fees, and payment reductions are passed on to the workers.
This doesn’t even take into account the favoritism Warren shows in her plan to unionized companies. Warren’s plan proposes that companies with collective bargaining agreements will pay less than non-unionized companies. This sort of favoritism will likely lead to consequences Warren either doesn’t foresee or refuses to acknowledge.
In response to Warren’s plan, Kate Bedingfield, communications director for former Vice President Joe Biden, told Associate Press White House reporter Zeke Miller that “The mathematical gymnastics in this plan are all geared towards hiding a simple truth from voters: it’s impossible to pay for Medicare for All without middle class tax increases”
The bottom line is that Warren’s fantasy accounting is unrealistic and would likely never be achieved, emphasizing the impossibility of the Left’s Medicare for All dream.