Top Pro & Con Arguments


Universal health care would raise costs for the federal government and, in turn, taxpayers.

Medicare-for-all, a recent universal health care proposal championed by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), would cost an estimated $30 to $40 trillion over ten years. The cost would be the largest single increase to the federal budget ever. [192]

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that by 2030 federal health care subsidies will increase by $1.5 to $3.0 trillion. The CBO concludes, “Because the single-payer options that CBO examined would greatly increase federal subsidies for health care, the government would need to implement new financing mechanisms—such as raising existing taxes or introducing new ones, reducing certain spending, or issuing federal debt. As an example, if the government required employers to make contributions toward the cost of health insurance under a single-payer system that would be similar to their contributions under current law, it would have to impose new taxes.” [193]

Despite claims by many, the cost of Medicare for All, or any other universal health care option, could not be financed solely by increased taxes on the wealthy. “[T]axes on the middle class would have to rise in order to pay for it. Those taxes could be imposed directly on workers, indirectly through taxes on employers or consumption, or through a combination of direct or indirect taxes. There is simply not enough available revenue from high earners and businesses to cover the full cost of eliminating premiums, ending all cost-sharing, and expanding coverage to all Americans and for (virtually) all health services,” says the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. [195]

An analysis of the Sanders plan “estimates that the average annual cost of the plan would be approximately $2.5 trillion per year creating an average of over a $1 trillion per year financing shortfall. To fund the program, payroll and income taxes would have to increase from a combined 8.4 percent in the Sanders plan to 20 percent while also retaining all remaining tax increases on capital gains, increased marginal tax rates, the estate tax and eliminating tax expenditures…. Overall, over 70 percent of working privately insured households would pay more under a fully funded single payer plan than they do for health insurance today.” [196]

Read More