Fact Check: Bernie Sanders Claims Medicare for All Would Save Money

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 10: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks while introducing health care legislation titled the "Medicare for All Act of 2019", during a news conference on Capitol Hill, on April 9, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

CLAIM: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) claimed Tuesday night during the Democrat presidential debate that Medicare for All would save money compared to other options.

VERDICT: False. Medicare for All raises spending dramatically.

Sanders claimed, via a Lancet journal study, that a national single-payer healthcare system would save both tens of thousands of lives and hundreds of billions.

Sanders neglected to first mention during the Democrat debate that the lead author, Alison Galvani, served as an “informal, unpaid advisor” to the Vermont senator’s office as Sanders developed Medicare for All.

The Galvani study concluded that Medicare for All would allegedly slash national healthcare expenditures by 13 percent, or more than $450 billion per year. The study claims that Medicare for All’s reduction in administrative overhead, elimination of redundant corporate functions, lack of patient billing, and applying the existing Medicare fee structure across the healthcare system would allegedly save hundreds of billions of dollars.

Sanders’ former staffer’s study runs contrary to many other studies on Medicare for All, which have revealed that the single-payer plan would cost far more than what the democratic socialist suggests.

The libertarian Mercatus Center, the moderate Urban Center, and the Rand Corporation have found that Medicare for All would cost far more.

Even a Washington Post analysis noted that Galvani’s assumptions on Medicare for All lack empirical evidence:

How much would doctors and hospitals actually save on administrative overhead? How many people would increase their use of medical services once they’re paid for? Would a single-payer system make it easier to detect medical fraud?

The non-partisan Urban Institute found that single-payer health care would cost roughly $32 trillion. Even the Washington Post admitted in 2017 that the would plan would be “astonishingly” expensive.

Mercatus scholar Charles Blahous said in 2019 that Medicare for All would cost $60 trillion over the next decade, of which $32 trillion would amount to new federal spending.

Blahous mentioned that “doubling individual and corporate income taxes would be insufficient to finance even the lower bound” of the $32.6 trillion in new federal spending.

Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.

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