The plan relies on an expected mix of tax hikes on the wealthy, deep cuts to military spending and payments to doctors, projected savings from a more streamlined national system, payments from employers who would no longer have to provide health care to their workers and — the heaviest lift — comprehensive immigration reform. The proposal was outlined and evaluated for the campaign by several prominent economists and former government officials.
“Medicare for All puts all health care on the government’s books. But Medicare for All is about the same price as our current path — and cheaper over time,” Warren argued, saying her plan would cost about $52 trillion over 10 years, compared to the $59 trillion projected if the U.S. health system remained the same. “That means the debate isn’t really about whether the United States should pay more or less. It’s about who should pay.”
But Warren’s new proposal, first reported by Fox News, is the most complete attempt yet by a candidate to flesh out a broad concept first proposed by Bernie Sanders and later embraced by Warren and several Democratic presidential hopefuls. It also goes beyond suggesting how to pay for abolishing all private insurance and putting hundreds of millions of people on a government plan. Because Sanders’ bill lacked key details that determine how much the overall system will cost — such as how much physicians, hospitals, and drug companies would be paid — Warren is proposing these details herself.
The most sweeping and controversial piece of her additions to Sanders’ bill is a pledge to pay most physicians current Medicare rates — which are much lower than private insurance rates but higher than Medicaid — and to pay hospitals slightly above Medicare rates. She argues that doctors will save money overall because they’ll be able to dedicate the hours they currently spend billing a swath of interlocking private and public insurance plans to providing care.
But medical providers who are already mobilizing against Medicare for All are likely to take this as a declaration of war.