Oct 16, 2019

Democrats' health care plans by the numbers

Expand chart
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.

Go deeper

Taxes on the wealthy can't entirely pay for Medicare for All

Photo: ATU Images/Getty Images

Financing full-blown, single-payer Medicare for All — which is estimated to cost roughly $30 trillion over a decade — would require aggressive changes in taxes, spending or borrowing, according to an analysis by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

Between the lines: "Tax increases on high earners, corporations, and the financial sector by themselves could not cover much more than one-third of the cost of Medicare for All," the report concludes — meaning that the middle class would be forced to shoulder some of the burden.

Go deeperArrowOct 29, 2019

Elizabeth Warren's "Medicare for All" requires another $20.5 trillion of federal spending

Elizabeth Warren at a rally. Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Sen. Elizabeth Warren has released her long-awaited plan to pay for "Medicare for All," which she says will put the $11 trillion that would be spent out-of-pocket on health care over 10 years "back in the pockets of American families."

The bottom line: This will be paid for "with targeted spending cuts, new taxes on giant corporations and the richest 1% of Americans, and by cracking down on tax evasion and fraud. Not one penny in middle-class tax increases," the plan states.

Go deeperArrowNov 1, 2019

Clinton: Warren's Medicare for All plan wouldn't ever get enacted

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Austin, Texas, on Sunday. Photo: Gary Miller/Getty Images

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said during the DealBook conference in New York on Wednesday she doesn't believe 2020 candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren's Medicare for All plan would ever be enacted.

"The smarter approach is to build on what we have; a public option is something I've been in favor of for a very long time. I don't believe we should be in the midst of a big disruption while we are trying to get to 100% coverage and deal with costs."
Go deeperArrowNov 7, 2019