While GOP Fumbles Obamacare ‘Replacement,’ Bernie Sanders’ Medicare-For-All Would Save $6 Trillion

While Republicans fumble around with their non-existent "replacement" for Obamacare, Sen. Bernie Sanders has had the answer all along: Medicare-for-All.

While the GOP pretends to search for an ACA replacement, Sen. Bernie Sanders wants a Medicare-for-All plan. Image: cc 2015 Phil Roeder via Flickr (with Public Domain U.S. flag photo from Pixabay added).

The GOP wants an Obamacare replacement? Here’s one from Sen. Bernie Sanders: Medicare-for-All.

While Republicans fumble around with their “replacement” for Obamacare, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) has had the answer all along: Medicare-for-All.

The senator from Vermont released the details on his plan last year, just before the fourth Democratic presidential debate in Charleston, S.C. The Washington Post explains Sanders’ plan would provide health insurance to all of us through our Medicare program.

The Medicare-for-All plan would cost $1.38 trillion a year, but would save most of us thousands of dollars every year on healthcare costs. Gerald Friedman, an economist from U-Mass. Amherst, estimates a family earning $50,000 a year would save nearly $6,000 each year.

Furthermore, WaPo adds, a single-payer plan for universal healthcare would save us $6 trillion over the next 10 years:

Friedman estimated that Sanders’s Medicare-for-All plan would save $6 trillion over the next 10 years compared with the current system, in large part by eliminating what the Sanders campaign described as “expensive and wasteful private health insurance.”

That’s right. Having a single-payer healthcare system — like all the other advanced nations in the world do — would save us a whopping $6 trillion over the next 10 years.

Compare that to the GOP’s plan to repeal Obamacare. The non-partisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) crunched the numbers and found “a full repeal of Obamacare would cost $350 billion over the next decade.

In his statement on his Medicare-for-All plan, Bernie Sanders

“Universal healthcare is an idea that has been supported in the United States by Democratic presidents going back to Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman. It is time for our country to join every other major industrialized nation on earth and guarantee healthcare to all citizens as a right, not a privilege.”

So how would we pay for all this? The marginal tax rates for people making over $250,000 a year would go up a few points to 37 percent a year. The tax rates would then scale up over three additional tax brackets to 52 percent for those who make $10 million a year or more. The current top rate is a measly 39.6 percent.

Taxes on income we don’t work for — such as inheritances, capital gains, and dividends — would also go up. Employers would pay a new 6.2 percent payroll tax and the rest of us would pay a 2.2 percent healthcare tax based on our federal income taxes.

Of course, that’ll make a lot of us scream about paying higher taxes. But here’s the thing: When we pay inflated amounts to for-profit companies for what other countries provide as public services, that amounts to an invisible tax. Only instead of investing that money in our own well-being and that of our neighbors, we’re paying it to huge corporations.

Conservatives love to go on about how for-profit companies can provide goods and services more efficiently and cost-effectively than the government. But that’s utter nonsense. For starters, there’s no way the private sector can compete with the public sector on costs when they’re paying their CEOs millions of dollars each year.

Meanwhile, stingy old Uncle Sam only pays Patrick Conway, MD, MSc $170,000 a year. And he’s the top dog at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and a Level III executive on the U.S. government pay scale.

What can health insurance company CEOs possibly be doing that’s worth tens of millions of dollars?

Obamacare still has problems. In 2016, 29 million of us still lacked health insurance. We still pay more per per person for our healthcare than any other country and receive among the worst results. Plus, many of us still complain that our health plans cost too much, don’t cover enough, and that the healthcare exchanges are too hard to navigate.

These problems are a direct result of for-profit health insurance and drug companies jacking up prices. And who can blame them? They don’t exist to keep us healthy, they exist to churn out profits for their top brass and their shareholders.

Oh, and then we’ve got Republican governors who’d rather screw their own citizens than expand Medicare in their states. Our GOP-led Congress also refuses to let Medicare bargain down drug prices, refuses to increase subsidies, and refuses to allow a public option.

Forcing struggling Americans to bear the costs of a shifting economy in which many employers no longer provide steady, full-time jobs with benefits is cruel, unjust, and costly.

WATCH: Bernie Sanders’ Medicare-for-All plan explained.

The Medicare-for-All plan Bernie Sanders unveiled during the fourth Democratic debate with Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley is based on the American Health Security Act (S. 1782) bill he introduced back in 2013.

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