House Budget Committee Chairman Asks CBO for 'Medicare for All' To-Do List

Rep. John Yarmuth (Stephen Cohen/Getty Images for
January 9, 2019

Rep. John Yarmuth (D., Ky.), chair of the House Budget Committee, asked the Congressional Budget Office for a "Medicare for all" to-do list that outlines logistical and financial trade-offs Democrats should consider as they develop singly-payer health care bills.

Yarmuth said he will hold hearings on "Medicare for all," the Washington Times reports. The Kentucky Democrat wants the list to evaluate who would receive coverage and how doctors would be paid. He also wants to know how much the plan would cost and how it would be administered.

"Members of Congress developing proposals to establish a single-payer system will face many important decisions that could have major implications for federal spending, national health care spending and access to care," Yarmuth wrote.

Yarmuth's requested to-do list "would, to the extent feasible, provide a qualitative assessment of how the choices with respect to major design issues would affect such spending." It would not, however, provide the cost of a specific proposal.

The libertarian Mercatus Center found that Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I., Vt.) single-payer plan would increase government health care spending by $32.6 trillion over 10 years, and "federal healthcare commitments would equal approximately 10.7 percent of GDP in 2022" and then rise to nearly 12.7 percent of GDP in 2031.

The same study also found Sanders' plan would require enormous tax increases, observing that "a doubling of all currently projected federal individual and corporate income tax collections would be insufficient to finance the added federal costs of the plan."

"Medicare for all" has drawn support from multiple potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), former Obama administration official Julian Castro, and former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe.