Sanders: Medicare for All Will Require Higher Taxes on the Middle Class

Sanders sides with Biden: Fantasy world to think Medicare for all won't require middle class tax hikes

July 28, 2019

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) sided with former Vice President Joe Biden, arguing that Medicare for all would require increased taxes on the middle class during an appearance on CNN's State of the Union on Sunday.

Host Jake Tapper showed Sanders a clip of Biden commenting on Sen. Kamala Harris's (D., Calif.) claim that she would not raise taxes on the middle class to fund Medicare for all.

"Well I find the people who say they're for Medicare for all, but they're not going to tax the middle class because you don't need to do that, come on. Is this a fantasy world here?" Biden asked.

"Do you agree with Vice President Biden that Senator Harris is in a fantasy world?" Tapper asked Sanders.

Sanders pointed out that in a Medicare for all system people would not pay premiums or deductibles, but argued "that in a progressive way people will have to pay taxes."

"The wealthy will obviously pay the lion's share of those taxes but at the end of the day, the vast majority of the American people will pay substantially less for the health care than they now receive because we're going to do away with hundreds of billion dollars of administrative waste. We're going to do away with the incredible profiteering of the insurance companies and the drug companies. So people will be paying in some cases more in taxes but overall because they're not gonna pay premiums, deductible or co-payments, they'll be paying less for their health care," Sanders continued.

"So is Vice President Biden correct that anybody who says Medicare for all is going to happen, but we're not gonna raise taxing on anybody or on the middle class is in a fantasy world?" Tapper pressed.

"Well obviously health care is not free. We pay for it through premiums and out-of-pocket expenses and in Canada it is paid through taxes. We'll have to do that," Sanders said.

Earlier this month, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) estimated his Medicare for all proposal would cost up to $40 trillion over 10 years. Sanders has also said he would raise taxes, including for the middle class, to pay for Medicare for all, and that "there will be pain" in a transition to a single-payer system.

Former Vice President Joe Biden's healthcare plan, released on Monday, does not go as far as Medicare for All. His proposal includes a public option to buy into a Medicare-like plan and wouldn't eliminate private health insurance.

The Kaiser Family Foundation found that Americans' view of the single-payer plan "can shift significantly after hearing information." 56 percent of those surveyed support "Medicare for All," while 42 percent oppose it.

58 percent oppose the plan, however, if told it would eliminate private health insurance plans, and 60 percent oppose it if it requires higher taxes.