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Sen. Sanders’ Medicare-For-All Plan Would Bankrupt Our Country and Destroy Healthcare Quality

Would cost $2.5 trillion in 2017; Four times what U.S. Will Spend on the Military in 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) tonight debated Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in a CNN Town Hall regarding the future of Obamacare.  Sen. Sanders has proposed a “Medicare for All” government-run, universal health care system. His plan promises free, unlimited health care coverage for all Americans. The problem is – just as Obamacare has proven – such promises are impossible to fulfill and will worsen healthcare delivery and outcomes across the country. 

Sen. Sanders claims his plan would require an additional $15 trillion in taxes.  According to the Urban Institute, under this Medicare for All plan, federal spending would increase by about $2.5 trillion in 2017 and by about $32 trillion over the next decade.  This spending would essentially triple every American household’s income taxes.  Additionally, $2.5 trillion is more than the market value of Apple ($677B), Google ($557B), Microsoft ($494B), Facebook ($384B), and AT&T ($258B) combined. The government could tax the income of those making $1 million or more at 100 percent and only collect an additional $983 billion—less than half what would be required to pay for the plan for one year. 

The Urban Institute report notes, “The increase in federal spending is so large because the federal government would absorb a substantial amount of current spending by state and local governments, employers, and households. In addition, federal spending would be needed for newly covered individuals, expanded benefits and the elimination of cost sharing for those insured under current law, and the new long-term support and services program.”

On top of the unsustainable costs that would be incurred from government-run, universal health coverage, free-market competition and innovation would be eliminated. The government would become the sole distributor of health care, which would further narrow patient choices and degrade the quality of care available. Other countries that have adopted similar universal plans have experienced a decline in quality of care, exposing patients to long wait times and even denial of care in many cases: 

In the United Kingdom:

-- The average wait time in 2013 was 72 days for cataract surgery, 89 days for a hip replacement, and 95 days for a knee replacement. 

-- Data has shown that older patients are less likely to receive surgery for cancer treatment than younger ones. A 2011 report noted that only 39 percent of women over 80 in the UK receive surgery for breast cancer, compared to 90 percent of women under 50 (Macmillan Cancer Support). 


In Canada

-- Specialist physicians surveyed report a median waiting time of 20 weeks between referral from a general practitioner and receipt of treatment—longer than the wait of 18.3 weeks reported in 2015. 

-- 2016’s wait time—the longest ever recorded in this survey’s history—is 115% longer than in 1993, when it was just 9.3 weeks.


In Denmark: 

-- The average wait time in 2014 was 83 days for cataract surgery, 55 days for a hip replacement, and 59 days for a knee replacement (OECD). 


In Norway: 

-- The average wait time in 2013 was 128 days for cataract surgery, 154 days for a hip replacement, and 183 days for a knee replacement (OECD).


In Sweden: 

-- In 2015, 11 percent of patients on the waiting list waited more than 3 months for cataract surgery (OECD). 

-- In 2015, 19 percent of patients on the waiting list waited more than 3 months for a knee replacement (OECD).

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