The US Senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders has unveiled a new version of his ambitious “Medicare for All” plan. The move is seen by many experts as a clear indication that healthcare will be a huge part of the campaign message among Democratic candidates in the 2020 race. The plan is very similar to his 2017 Medicare for all proposals that failed to pass in the Senate. It seeks to eliminate private insurance and shift all Americans to a government-run healthcare program. However, many Republicans have made it clear that they will oppose such a plan. They have called it too expensive and too radical.
However, the bill by Sanders already has a total of 14 co-sponsors including four of the presidential candidates who will be running for the Democratic ticket. They include Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts, Cory Booker from New Jersey, Kamala Harris from California, and Kirsten Gillibrand from New York. However, Amy Klobuchar, a senior Democrat running for president, has opposed Sanders’s plan. Although she is for universal health care, she favors a more rapid expansion of Medicare without necessarily getting rid of private insurance.
Sanders believes that the plan has a lot of support from ordinary Americans. According to him, it’s about ending “greed and profiteering in healthcare.” The senior senator from Vermont also added that the quest for better health care is a “struggle for the heart and soul of who we are as Americans.” Many experts argue that the new plan would easily become the centerpiece of the Democratic agenda as we head to the 2020 elections. Besides, government-led healthcare plans seem to have the support of many Democratic lawmakers in Congress.
But other prominent leaders in the party have a different view. For instance, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a high ranking Democrat in the House, argues that the best course of action would be to strengthen and protect Obamacare instead of launching a new plan. Nonetheless, it will take a miracle for the Sanders bill to pass the Republican-dominated Senate. The biggest concern among Republicans has often been the cost of running such a government-led program. So far, Sanders has not put a price tag on it. There are no explicit explanations of what the taxpayers will have to pay to implement it. But the Senator from Vermont says that revenues to support the plan will be raised through a combination of taxes on employers, businesses, individuals, and the wealthy.
But raising that kind of money will not be an easy feat. In fact, the Liberal Urban Institute estimated that the earlier plan by Sanders, which is almost identical to this one, would cost about $32 trillion over a ten-year period to implement. The institute also noted that additional taxes would only raise about $15 trillion in taxes. Such massive expenditure by a government that’s already deep in debt is not sustainable. This will be the biggest challenge for Sanders as he rolls out the plan as part of his campaign message. How will the government pay for it?