The Sanders Health Care Plan or Why Communism is Still a Bad Idea

Senator Sanders released his healthcare plan just before yesterdays debate, a debate he is considered to have won. If you look at his plan though it will likely be the nail in his campaign’s coffin. I don’t normally post links to opposition sites but reading this document is hilarious, Sanders Health Plan

Excerpting the key points that you need to determine the cost.

Bernie’s plan means no more copays, no more deductibles and no more fighting with insurance companies when they fail to pay for charges
Universal single payer health care means comprehensive coverage for all Americans. Bernie’s plan will cover the entire continuum of health care, from inpatient to outpatient care; preventive to emergency care; primary care to specialty care, including long term and palliative care; vision, hearing and oral health care; mental health and substance abuse services; as well as prescription medications, medical equipment, supplies, diagnostics and treatments.
What he is talking about is essentially enrolling every American in Medicare, removing the premium, and the deductible, then having the government pay for it. Lets see what that means in dollars and cents.  (all figures from 2014 budget)

Medicare as currently constituted is 14% of the federal budget costing $505 billion dollars annually
Out of pocket spending for Medicare recipients $4,734 annually  (source Kaiser Family Foundation )
Total Number of Medicare Beneficiaries 49.4 million  (source Kaiser Family Foundation )

So first order of business lets work out what the actual cost of Medicare is (Payments by Fed Gov)+(average beneficiary payment)*(Number of Beneficiaries) = 505,000,000+ (4734)*(49400000) =  $738,859,600,000. Lets round that to a nice $738 billion

Now lets project that to cover the entire U.S. Population ((US Population) 318,000,000 /(Medicare Beneficiaries) 49,400,000)* (current cost) 738,000,000 = 6.43 TRILLION Dollars Annually 

Just to put that number in perspective the current federal budget is 3.5 trillion dollars and total tax revenue is currently 3 trillion dollars. There are underlying assumptions here that aren’t covered. Once people aren’t paying anything directly for the health care they won’t use more. That expanding the size of the program won’t increase the amount of fraud and waste involved in the administration. That the greater demand for health services won’t increase the cost of the services. All of these assumptions are at best wishful thinking.