Opinion: Senator Sanders’ ‘Medicare for All’ plan is unrealistic

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Ray Paoletta is a senior political science major. Contact him at [email protected]

Ray Paoletta

Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders recently released more details regarding his plan to expand Medicare for all Americans. However, his plan is expensive, unrealistic and would hurt Americans.

Sen. Sanders proposed a plan that would provide every person in America coverage for doctors’ visits, hospital stays, long-term and hospice care, vision, dental, mental health and prescription drugs. However, this plan would come with a cost. A very steep cost.

The plan would cost an estimated $14 trillion over 10 years. In order to pay for it, Sanders is calling to create a new 2.2 percent tax on everyone and a 6.2 percent payroll tax on employers. Besides numerous tax increases on both individuals and business, Sanders has stated that the plan would rely on doctors compensation dropping nearly 11 percent and hospital compensation dropping nearly 10 percent. Current Medicare already pays out less than private insurance to providers. With this plan, medical professions would see additional pay cuts.

Americans should be hesitant to support a health care plan that would raise taxes on everyone, including the middle class. The more people are taxed, the less they tend to spend. This would slow the growth of the overall economy. Furthermore, increasing taxes on businesses would risk slowing down the growth and expansion of companies, especially smaller businesses who run a small profit margin. Increased taxes could slow the rate of employment growth within businesses, leading to a lower than anticipated tax revenue and making the financing of a health care plan such as Sanders’ even more expensive.

In addition, Sanders’ goal is to cut health care costs by $6.3 trillion over the next 10 years. This is an extremely optimistic goal, as it would need to include cutting rates of reimbursement to doctors and hospitals. Asking people to take a 10 percent pay decrease would likely not be met with acceptance.

The U.S. can without question make changes to the health care system to make sure more people are able to access affordable health insurance. Instead of focusing on reforms to Medicare, there are other avenues to increase coverage to all.

Expanding Medicaid eligibility would help insure the poor who usually would not be able to afford insurance. This would provide those with low income, those most in need, access to health coverage. Secondly, the government could look to reform the compensation rates to doctors and hospitals so that more hospitals and doctors accept Medicaid.

Another way to make health care more affordable is by utilizing health savings accounts. The government should create tax-free health savings accounts for everyone. People may contribute to these so they can save for unexpected medical costs, copays and other medical expenses.

Lastly, insurance companies should be allowed to sell plans across state lines. Opening up the sale of insurance plans across state lines allows for increased competition, which would drive down prices of insurance plans and make insurance more affordable for all.

The U.S. health care system is in need of reform, but the proposal from Sanders is not the answer.  His plan would increase taxes on the middle class, place financial burdens on businesses and cause the size of the government and the amount of government spending to grow to historic levels. Instead, a common sense approach must be taken that creates competition to lower costs and incentivizes personal savings in addition to insurance. Lastly, states should extend a hand up to those in need by expanding Medicaid eligibility so that those who cannot afford health insurance have health coverage. America needs common sense solutions, not expensive dreams.

The views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of the Kent State College Republicans as an organization.

 Ray Paoletta is a member of Kent State College Republicans.