Bernie Sanders got some 'splainin' to do on Medicare for All
Shortly after 2020 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders published a revised version of his Medicare for All scheme, I compiled a list of 21 questions regarding the senator's plan, using his latest revision as a reference. My questions were published at American Thinker last April.
I forwarded the same list of questions to the Sanders campaign headquarters. I've yet to receive a response to my inquiry, much less the standard, pre-printed, auto-signed "thank you for contacting the campaign" letter. As I am still patiently waiting for a response, a whole new list questions has arisen.
Is the senator unwilling to answer my questions? If so, why? Will the answers to my questions be unpopular with the voting public? Promising to significantly raise taxes on the campaign trail is always a non-starter; better to remain silent on the topic of taxes? Is the senator unable to provide details about specific proposals contained within his socialized medicine plan?
In reviewing the original 21 questions, they are uncomplicated, easy to read, and straightforward. Senator Sanders's revised Medicare for All scheme makes many claims, none of which cites supporting documentation. In particular, I asked for citations about the staggering amount of money he claims will be saved by the U.S. government on health care for 330 million people, significantly reduced expenditures for health care by employers, how calculations were derived, and so on.
Keep in mind that at the time Medicare became law in 1965, President Lyndon Johnson claimed that it would pay for itself over time. It hasn't. Just the opposite is true; Medicare, as we know it, is racing toward insolvency. President Obama made a lot of claims about Obamacare, too. Most of his claims never came to fruition; millions of people are still uninsured, and some of what he promised was boldfaced lies.
I got specific, asking if Canadians will still be allowed to access American health care facilities under the American version of MFA; who pays for the "free" health care for the estimated 22 million illegal aliens currently residing in the U.S.; what happens to military Tri-Care insurance, the V.A., and military hospitals. I also asked if members of Congress will be able to exempt themselves, their family members, and office staff from his Medicare for All scheme. Crickets.
Unlike Nancy Pelosi's infamous claim about Obamacare, having to pass it to see what's in it, the Sanders MFA scheme does address personal income tax increases and increased employer-paid MFA taxes — sort of. And while he proposes a 4% MFA tax levied on a family of four whose household income exceeds $50,000, Sanders fails to mention if the 4% is a flat rate tax or a progressive tax. For instance, does the 4% tax double to 8% for a household income of $100,000? If so, imagine paying $32,000 a year for health care based on annual household income of $200,000 and that's even before forking over another 32% of annual wages earned, based on the most current income tax brackets for married filing jointly.
That's peanuts compared to what the Sanders plan will impose on employers. Currently, employers match the 1.4% Medicare tax employee contribution, calculated on employee wages. The Sanders plan eliminates the employee tax but increases the employer share to 7.5%. Do the math — it's a 436% tax increase. You'd think Bernie would have paid a little more attention, unlike Hillary Clinton, when telling people they will be put out of business because of outrageous, unaffordable MFA employer tax increases or telling the 1.8 million people employed in the health care insurance industry that their jobs will be eliminated or promising union workers that their Cadillac health care plans will go away. Not exactly vote-garnering platitudes.
Finally, the Sanders MFA scheme is a list of proposals to be hammered out in Congress, should he be elected president in 2020. Perhaps that's why he's unwilling to respond to me; the devil is in the details, and the details remain unknown. If most of what Bernie Sanders proposes were to be legislated, American medicine as we know would be upended in a mere four-year period, which is his timetable for socializing medicine in the U.S.
To my knowledge, candidate Sanders has yet to address a room full of current Medicare beneficiaries — unlike his opponent, Kamala Harris, who was told by nursing home resident, "Don't mess with my health care."