Expert: Doubling Income Taxes Won’t Even Cover Medicare for All Costs

Charles Blahous, a senior research strategist at George Mason University's Mercatus Center, on Tuesday said, "Doubling all currently projected federal individual and corporate income tax would be insufficient to finance" Medicare for All.

Blahous spoke before the House Rules Committee about "Medicare for All," the health care plan proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) and supported by several 2020 Democratic candidates. Blahous estimated the cost is between $32.6 trillion and $38.8 trillion.

"Medicare for All would add somewhere between $32.6 trillion and $38.8 trillion in new federal budget costs over the first ten years. The $32.6 trillion estimate is a lower bound estimate. It essentially assumes every cost containment provision in the bill saves as much as possible," Blahous said. "If instead things play out more consistently with historical trends, the new federal cost would be closer to $38.8 trillion."

"Now obviously such enormous numbers are very difficult to grasp," he added. "We’re talking about 11 to 13 percent of our GDP in 2022, rising to 13 to 15 percent of GDP in 2031 being added to the federal ledger."

Blahous then went on to say the United States doesn't have "historical experience with permanent government expansions of this size."

"So, to provide a sense of the magnitudes, the study notes that doubling all currently projected federal individual and corporate income taxes would be insufficient to finance even the lower bound estimate of $32.6 trillion," he said. "Now, to be clear, these would not be the total costs of Medicare for All. These would the federal government's net new cost above and beyond currently projected federal health obligations."

"Total federal spending on Medicare for All over the first ten years would be somewhere between $54.6 trillion and $60.7 trillion," Blahous added.