I keep hearing a couple of things about Bernie’s single payer healthcare plan that I need to address. The Hillary supporting left likes to say that he doesn’t actually have a plan to pay for it. WRONG. The right prefers to proclaim that he’s going to massively raise your taxes to pay for it. Not totally wrong, but not even remotely the whole story.
So I’m going to break this down, so that I never have to hear these bullshit talking points again. So here it is, point by point.
Right now, we pay twenty trillion dollars for healthcare (all of my numbers represent 10 years of spending). That breaks down to about fifteen trillion dollars in premium costs, and another five trillion dollars in copays.
Of that twenty trillion dollars, six trillion is currently guaranteed profits and administrative costs. Remember that the ACA capped these costs at twenty percent. To give you some context here, medicare’s administrative costs are four percent. There are obviously no profits, so four percent is the whole number. That’s four percent for medicare, vs twenty percent for private insurance so that six trillion dollars in costs would all but evaporate.
We pay 3.1 trillion taxpayer dollars out to employers in the form of tax incentives to provide their employees with health insurance. So you’re actually paying for some of that employer subsidized health insurance through your taxes in addition to your monthly premium contributions. That 3.1 trillion dollars evaporates under Bernie’s single payer system.
If you’re keeping track, we’re already at over nine trillion dollars in savings, and we haven’t even gotten to your premium contributions yet.
We’re left with a balance of eleven trillion dollars. That’s where Bernie’s tax plan comes into play. Yes, we will be paying 100% of that eleven trillion dollars through our tax dollars, rather than premium contributions.
Bernie’s plan is to raise your taxes by 8.4% (6.2% if your income is under 28,000) so that’s where the republican talking point is true. But remember that you will no longer be paying those insurance premiums. So ask yourself, are you currently paying more than 8.4% of your income for healthcare? Actually, don’t. I have the numbers. The median single person household spends 21% of their income on health insurance. The median family household spends 23% of their income on health insurance. That’s the part that republicans leave out. You will be saving around 11% – 15% of your total income overall. Bernie also creates new tax brackets. Right now, the highest tax bracket kicks in at an income of $415,000. So we don’t treat anyone who makes $10 million dollars, or $1 billion dollars a year any differently than we do someone making $415,000. That top tax rate is currently 39.6%. What Bernie is proposing is the following:
- 37 percent on income between $250,000 and $500,000.
- 43 percent on income between $500,000 and $2 million.
- 48 percent on income between $2 million and $10 million. (In 2013, only 113,000 households, the top 0.08 percent of taxpayers, had income between $2 million and $10 million.)
- 52 percent on income above $10 million. (In 2013, only 13,000 households, just 0.01 percent of taxpayers, had income exceeding $10 million.)
I literally copied and pasted those last four lines from Bernie’s official campaign website, so sorry Hillary supporters. Your ambiguity argument, just demonstrates that you didn’t bother to look at Bernie at all. There are several other tax increases he proposes aimed at the filthy rich. You should go to his website and familiarize yourself with that tax plan.
Bernie’s plan saves us five trillion dollars in healthcare costs every decade, according to the critics of his plan. The best estimates have us saving nine trillion dollars every decade.
That’s how he pays for it. It’s not an ambiguous plan, nor is it a plan that is going to hit the middle class and the poor. They come out way ahead under Bernie’s plan. I’m sincerely hoping that at least democrats, stop peddling these falsehoods I’ve been hearing. I know that truth has never gotten in the way of a good republican talking point, but I hope this will end some of the bullshit I’ve been hearing.