21 questions for Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders is running for president in 2020, and much of his campaign platform is devoted to his recently revised 2019 version of Medicare for All. While his proposal is extremely generous, funding a one-size-fits-all program remains vague. The summary on how to finance "Medicare for All" can be found on his Senate website.
Using the summary as a reference, I compiled a list of 21 questions:
- Which studies show that the U.S. will save $500 billion a year by moving to a universal health care system? Please cite the source(s) for this claim.
- Regarding pharmaceutical drugs, which other countries match the United States on the same scale of research, development, and testing of new drugs?
- Other than China, India, and Russia, which country (more than 300 million people) has universal health care?
- Please show the calculation that proves that $3.9 trillion will be raised over a 10-year period by mandating a 7.5% income-based premium, paid by employers.
- E-verify for employers is optional. For employees paid in cash and off the books, how will the 7.5% income-based premium be enforced and collected?
- Please show the calculation that proves that business-owners will save over $9,000 in health care costs per employee, under the 7.5% employer-paid premium option.
- Please show the calculation that proves that $3.5 trillion will be raised over ten years by mandating a 4% income-based premium, paid by every household.
- Please show the calculation proving that a "typical family of 4" will save $4,400 annually, while paying a 4% income-based premium for health care.
- The 4% income-based annual premium is based on a family of four whose income is $50,000 a year. Is this percentage of income progressive? For instance, does the premium double to 8% on an income of $100,000 a year?
- At what income level threshold does the income-based premium triple or quadruple?
- From the summary, families making less than $29,000 a year will pay no premium. Who pays for their health care?
- Who pays for the health care for the estimated 22 million illegal aliens currently residing in the United States? Will EMTALA be repealed?
- Speaking of foreigners, according to the Canadian Fraser Institute, almost 65,000 Canadians traveled to the U.S. in 2016 for medical treatments, either not available in Canada or due to long waiting periods. Will this be allowed to continue? Will Americans be allowed to travel outside the U.S. for medical treatment not available in the U.S.?
- In 2018, 44% of all wage-earners paid zero personal income tax. Will all wage-earners be assessed the income-based premium, regardless of annual tax liability?
- Will military TRICARE insurance be eliminated and military base hospitals closed?
- Will Veterans Administration hospitals be closed? If not, will military veterans be mandated to pay an income-based health care premium for Medicare for All, despite the fact that the U.S. government promised health care for life at no charge for their military service?
- According to CMS, 74 million people in the U.S. are currently Medicaid beneficiaries. By law, Medicaid beneficiaries pay no out-of-pocket medical expenses, nor co-pays. Under the Medicare for All plan, will the 74 million people continue to receive free health care, and what is the plan to fully fund free health care for not only the 74 million Medicaid beneficiaries, plus the 22 million illegal aliens...in perpetuity?
- Under the options to finance Medicare for All, there are a number of suggestions to make the wealthy, Wall Street, and large corporations to pay their "fair share," alongside the potential revenue raised if such options are mandated. Again, please show the calculations or methodology used in determining the specific revenue amounts raised in each category. Be specific.
- What is the backup plan should the financial penalties for being wealthy or profitable fall below the budgeted annual revenue level?
- If Medicare for All is enacted, approximately 1.8 million people in the health care insurance industry will be unemployed. What is the plan to re-employ these people?
- As with Obamacare, will members of Congress be allowed to exempt themselves and their dependents from Medicare for All? Who will be allowed to remain on the private pay federal employee health care insurance plan?