Bennet

Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colorado) gave the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee (RNC) a free talking point  with his attack on Medicare for All during the recent Democratic debate.

In a tweet from her verified account Thursday night, RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel used video of Michael Bennet attacking the healthcare policy Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) are running on as something that would eliminate health insurance for 200 million Americans (which is false). It’s worth noting that Bennet has received more than $1.1 million in campaign donations from the pharmaceutical and insurance industries since his Congressional career began.

“[Medicare for All] bans employer-based insurance and taxes the middle class to the tune of $30 trillion,” Bennet said.

“A government takeover of health care would kick 200 MILLION Americans off their private plans and tax you into oblivion,” McDaniel wrote. “Must-watch moment from the #DemDebate…”

As Grit Post has recently reported, the Medicare for All plan championed by Sens. Sanders and Warren wouldn’t immediately eliminate private insurance. Rather, a public option would be added to the private health insurance market while the Medicare eligibility age is gradually lowered to include everyone over a four-year period. By the end of the fourth year, private insurance plans would be obsolete, since Americans would already be fully covered by Medicare — from doctor’s visits, to hospital stays, to pharmaceutical drugs, to long-term care for seniors.

And while Sen. Bennet is correct that Americans’ taxes would increase in order to fund Medicare for All, households would still see a significant savings compared to what they already pay in premiums, deductibles, co-pays, and other out-of-pocket costs associated with the current system. Earlier this year, for example, a University of Pennsylvania/United States of Care report found that family premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance cost roughly a third of monthly household income, on average. As 2018 Congressional candidate Kaniela Ng tweeted, the math adds up to big savings for working-class families.

Bennet’s scaremongering over the cost of Medicare for All is also not accurate, when considering that Medicare for All would actually cost less than the current American healthcare system. A 2018 study conducted by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University found that while Medicare for All would cost $32 trillion over a ten-year period, America already spends roughly $35 trillion on healthcare over a ten-year period — a savings of $2.5 trillion.

Aside from the data supporting the benefits of Medicare for All, the policy is also simply more popular than the current way of doing things. A Harvard/Harris poll conducted in early 2019 found that more than two-thirds of Americans felt that Congress should pursue “a taxpayer-funded national [healthcare] plan, like Medicare for All.”

(Featured image: CNN/Fair Use)

 

Carl Gibson is a politics contributor for Grit Post. His work has previously been published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle, Al-Jazeera America, and NPR, among others. Follow him on Twitter @crgibs or send him an email at carl at gritpost dot com.

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