$32.6 trillion dollars - Cost of single-payer healthcare over 10 years

The Mercatus Center just released a study tabulating the cost of single payer healthcare over a 10 year period. Unfortunately, for a lot of conservatives, buried in the report is the conclusion that it would actually save money…

That study going around on Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All plan comes with a big catch — the US would actually be saving money overall on healthcare

Yep. One thing I could never understand was people that believe in fiscal common sense opposing single payer. The rhetoric about government being ineffective draws some. And since the conservative mindset is fearful and resistant to change those folks are easily scared by the insurance lobby and their propaganda war as the talk radio pundits push it for them. Heck you still have some moron who posts here about health care in other countries while the same problem exist.

The bait and switch part of the ‘savings’: “mandating that all healthcare providers take the lower Medicare payment rate”…
exactly the reason that private health care costs have increased so rapidly since the inception of Medicare. The losses that doctors, hospitals and medical facilities incur from Medicare and Medicaid is made up through increases forced on the paying customer.
When there is no longer a paying customer, the entire system collapses.

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Medicare has been around since 1965…

Indeed, that’s why every other developed nations’ systems are collapsing under their far, far more expensive systems…

Oh wait, they actually cost a fraction of what our system costs.

Ergo, the increases in NHE.

‘Oh wait, they actually cost a fraction of what our system costs.’
We are paying for their systems as a byproduct of ‘rebuilding Europe after WWII’.
Our drug and medical equipment pricing is extraordinarily high exactly because of agreements that allow drug companies to recoup losses worldwide on the US consumer.
No other country allows their citizens to have free health care as the Bernie plan envisions for the US citizen. Most place 30% out of pocket costs for their health plans.

I would like to see numbers that are a little more direct in their comparisons to current reality. For instance, the 32 trillion number is a summation of 10 years. Why do that? For the shock value?

In the link I attached below, it shows that the US economy (either through private or federal sources) paid out $252 billion in health insurance premiums on 2015. So that’s on an order of magnitude of one tenth the annual projection of the Mercatus Center study. But the cost of the “insurance-for-all projection” also includes co-pays and deductibles, which the report in my link does not account for.

If I make a wild assumption that co-pays and deductibles today add up to double the insurance premium cost (example, premiums: $6K/year, deductible: $12K/year) the Mercatus Center study arrives at a new cost of about triple current reality. That would be a better apples-to-apples report. (Though not a good outcome at all!)

Far too much of what we get from the media and other reports is fraught with spin and emotion. I hope someone with wherewithal and gravitas can create an analysis we can truly count on.

The Netherlands pays about 15% out of pocket. They have a ~$450 deductible and about $120/person premium. According to Bernie’s plan, there would be a 2.2% income-based tax on individuals. Not sure why you’re implying there wouldn’t be any out-of-pocket costs.

Out of pocket expenditures in 2016 were $352 billion (copays, co-insurance, cash payments not covered by insurance, etc) [1]. Private insurance costs, which are mostly paid for by premiums, were $1.12 trillion. When factoring in all other health insurance costs (medicare, state and federal medicaid, DoD, etc), it’s a total of $2.486 trillion. So out of pocket costs and all insurance costs come to be $2.839 trillion. Then there’s other third party payers and programs that add $340 billion for a total of $3.337 trillion in health consumption expenditures.

  1. https://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/NationalHealthExpendData/Downloads/Tables.zip
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'The Netherlands…'is not most places

‘a 2.2% income-based tax on individuals’
is not medical out of pocket costs. It is an income tax.

It takes the place of something like a deductible, co-pay or premium.

A quick look up [1]:

Sweden: 16%
France: 8.5%
Japan: 13%
Switzerland: 24%
Norway: 14%
UK: 14.8%
US: 11%

Not sure where you’re getting this 30% figure.

  1. https://international.commonwealthfund.org/countries/

It doesn’t seem like you looked at the Mercatus report or the article since the questions you raised were answered in the piece.

The Constitution and its 10th Amendment mean nothing compared to government doing stuff to do good.

You’re right. I did NOT read the article linked in this thread. Only other ones. And the reply I posted was essentially a cut-and-past I made to what I posted elsewhere. At the time, I was only seeing reports about the reports, which was essentially the reason I said what I said. I just made a bad assumption that the link in Blue Tex’s opening post was just another one of those.

I’ll be responding in more detail to Adroit’s reply to me.

Thanks for the details. That’s the sort of thing I was looking for.

This reinforces my concern that the “$32 TRILLION !!!” hysteria is just emotionalism. The “medicare for all” proposal would essentially just take the entire medical expenditure of our current economy and place it under the umbrella of governmental control. It wouldn’t increase medical costs by any significant amount (on paper).

Which really means that the cost factor is merely a political football in the decision of whether our nation should adopt this. Noise. Distraction.

What we have left, therefore, is simply the question of whether it’s rightfully and constitutionally something that our federal government should do.

Further, since the aggregate costs of the current trajectory versus the “medicare for all” plan are essentially a wash, this wouldn’t cost the average American more. Right now we pay that aggregate cost one way or another – either in medical insurance premiums (or in lower salaries that allow our employers to pay our premiums), or co-pays, or deductibles, etc.

For the government to take it all on, we would just have to be taxed by that same amount we currently pay under today’s paradigm. Yes, it would have to be a HUGE amount of taxation, but at the end of the year, our payments would either be going directly to the medical industry via the expenses we shell out today, or to the fedgov who would then make those payments for us. Out bottom line (as an aggregate) would be the same.

(No question both sides of the debate will be able to highlight individual examples where people get an advantage under one plan or the other. Such anecdotes will always exist when you have 300 million examples to choose from.)

You have to look at what androit pointed out as what we are paying right now and then forecast what the next 10 years are going to be based on historical trends. If we kept the status quo, would the costs remain consistent to reach the average you calculated over 10 years, or would it increase over time? The study linked in the op has already accounted for those variables, so that needs to be taken into account when making a comparison.

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