Democrats' health care plans by the numbers

Data: The Urban Institute; Note: 2020 estimates assumes all reforms fully phased in and in equilibrium, "Household spending" is for those 64 and under; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Democrats aren't debating small differences in health policy — a public option would be radically different than a shift to a single payer system, and a new analysis by the Urban Institute and the Commonwealth Fund illustrates just how big those differences are.

By the numbers: A public option — even a robust one — would cost the federal government an additional $1.5 trillion over 10 years. Full-blown single payer would result in a federal spending increase of $34 trillion.

Yes, but: More federal spending doesn't necessarily mean the health care system as a whole is getting more expensive.

Details: The analysis doesn't look at any specific piece of legislation or any particular Democratic candidate's plan, but it covers the spectrum of what's been proposed.

  • National cost savings generally come at the expense of providers, as their payment rates would be regulated under expanded government coverage.