'Eye Popping:' Liberal Think Tank Projects Enormous Price Tag for Warren's Single-Payer Plan

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Posted: Oct 18, 2019 1:45 PM
'Eye Popping:' Liberal Think Tank Projects Enormous Price Tag for Warren's Single-Payer Plan

Nothing terribly new here, except for the fact that leftists can't dishonestly dismiss out of hand these cost projections for single-payer healthcare.  Previous, similar estimates were lazily derided as Koch-funded -- which does not seriously attempt to grapple with the calculations themselves -- but nobody can remotely accuse the left-leaning Urban Institute of being some right-wing front.  They'd already put out an astronomical number on the ten-year price tag of single-payer healthcare, but updated figures further underscore how enormous the expenditure would be, via The Atlantic:

The Urban Institute, a center-left think tank highly respected among Democrats, is projecting that a plan similar to what Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders are pushing would require $34 trillion in additional federal spending over its first decade in operation. That’s more than the federal government’s total cost over the coming decade for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid combined, according to the most recent Congressional Budget Office projections...In recent history, only during the height of World War II has the federal government tried to increase taxes, as a share of the economy, as fast as would be required to offset the cost of a single-payer plan, federal figures show. There are “no analogous peacetime tax increases,” says Leonard Burman, a public-administration professor at Syracuse University and a former top tax official in both the Bill Clinton administration and at the CBO. Raising that much more tax revenue “is plausible in the sense that it is theoretically possible,” Burman told me. “But the revolution that would come along with it would get in the way.”

Such gargantuan tax increases are, in fact, "theoretically possible."  Read this post and re-acquaint yourself with how massive they would need to be.  The piece excerpted above notes that "throughout the campaign, Warren refused to provide any specifics about how she would fund a single-payer plan. Instead, whether questioned by moderators or challenged by other candidates, she recycled variants on the same talking points she has used in [various] venues."  She is avoiding this question like the plague because she knows that bruising, across-the-board tax increases are unavoidable to fund a scheme that would add roughly $3.4 trillion in new spending every year (the federal government spent roughly $4 trillion last year, and is already racking up reckless and unsustainable deficits).

The Warren-friendly media is now trying to frame questions about this glaring issue as Republican-aiding, off-limits 'gotchas,' despite the fact that "how will you pay for X Y o Z" is the veritable definition of a legitimate policy question -- especially for someone who holds herself out as a wonky planner.  This gas-lighting from a prominent journalism professor (!) is quite revealing.  Thou shalt not ask questions of candidates that might help Republicans:


The lefty rebuttal to the tax increase question is that net-net, many people will pay less overall, as their premiums and deductibles are eliminated.  That math is not clean, however, as the overall costs of single-payer (and therefore taxes) could soar even higher as on-paper anticipated government "savings" fail to materialize.  Private coverage would be outlawed under Warren's plan, but long wait times and government rationing could also likely lead to an outcry in favor of supplementary plans, which would raise people's costs even further.  Also, why should anyone trust 'lower cost' assurances from the same people who dishonestly peddled the "Affordable" Care Act, which utterly failed in its core premise?  I'll leave you with Mayor Pete pressing this point further after this week's debate, plus this reminder that Buttigieg also effectively supports the very program he's attacking as unaffordable: