Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) explained on Thursday that if he is elected president, the majority of Americans will face tax hikes to help fund his sweeping Medicare for All plan.
“Is health care free? No, it is not,” Sanders told host Stephen Colbert during an appearance on “The Late Show.”
“So, what we do is exempt the first $29,000 of a person’s income — you make less than $29,000, you pay nothing in taxes,” he continued. “Above that, in a progressive way, with the wealthiest people in this country paying the largest percentage, people do pay more in taxes.”
Referring to legislation that he introduced into the Senate during his 2016 presidential campaign, Sanders noted that the single-player plan will eliminate premiums, co-payments, and any additional out-of-pocket expenses. Furthermore, Americans would pay no more than $200 per year for any prescription drugs.
While Sanders’ campaign previously contended that the proposal would cost taxpayers about $14 trillion over the next decade, most other estimates are significantly higher. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget forecast Sanders’ plan costing $28 trillion during the first ten years, which is in the range of other estimates.
“Here’s the point: we are covering all basic health care needs,” Sanders said. “Medicare is a very strong program, all I want to do over a four year period is expand it to everybody and include dental care, hearing aids, and eyeglasses, and home health care as well.”
“So, we cover mental illness, we cover all basic health care needs. Somebody wants cosmetic surgery? Fine, go to some private insurance,” he continued. “But we cover all basic health care needs and the overwhelming majority of the American people will be paying less for healthcare than they are today.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) notably appeared on “The Late Show” only a week earlier, where Colbert also pressed her on whether her health insurance plan would raises taxes on Americans. Both Sanders and Warren have been competing for the far-left lane in order to win the Democratic nomination for the presidency.
While Sanders has been relatively open about his impending tax increases, Warren has steered clear of broaching the subject.
“You keep being asked in the debates how are you going to pay for it, are you going to be raising the middle class taxes,” Colbert said during her appearance. “How are you going to pay for it? Are you going to be raising the middle-class taxes?”
“So, here’s how we are going to do this,” Warren replied. “Costs are going to go up for the wealthiest Americans, for big corporations … and hard-working middle class families are going to see their costs going down.”
“But will their taxes go up?” Colbert again pressed the Massachusetts senator.
“But, here’s the thing,” Warren responded.
“But, here’s the thing,” Colbert interrupted. “I’ve listened to these answers a few times before and I just want to make a parallel suggestion to you that you might defend the taxes perhaps that you’re not mentioning in your sentence.”
Warren has yet to answer whether her health insurance proposal will increase taxes.