9 ways to finance 'Medicare for All'

Democratic presidential candidates campaigning on "Medicare for All" have yet to release a blueprint for funding the single-payer plan, which is estimated to cost $30 trillion over a decade, according to the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

CRFB plans to publish a detailed analysis of funding options that includes potential tradeoffs and consequences. The nonprofit published a preliminary analysis with nine possible financing options:

1. 32 percent payroll tax — Most wage income is currently taxed at a rate of 15.3 percent, paid by workers and employers.

2. 25 percent income surtax — A 25 percent surtax on adjusted gross income above the standard deduction would increase the bottom income tax rate from 10 to 35 percent and the top income tax rate from 37 to 62 percent.

3. 42 percent value-added tax — Similar to sales tax, this consumption tax would increase the prices on most goods and services by 42 percent.

4. Mandatory public premium of $7,500 per person or $20,000 per household — If this was reduced or waived for people who would otherwise be on Medicare, Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program, premiums would be $12,000 per person.

5. More than doubling all individual and corporate income tax rates — Doubling the rates would fall short of the $30 trillion mark by about $3 trillion.

6. 80 percent reduction in non-health federal spending — The federal government would have to cut the federal budget by 80 percent to fully fund Medicare for All, which is "unrealistically large," according to CRFB.

7. Increase national debt by 108 percent of GDP — This would put the federal debt at 205 percent of GDP by 2030.

8. Impose "extremely aggressive" taxes on high earners, corporations and the financial sector — If high earners (individuals making above $204,000 per year and couples making above $408,000 per year) were taxed 100 percent, it still would not cover the cost of Medicare for All, according to the report. CRFB identified an "extremely aggressive" package of taxes that would cover roughly one-third of the cost.

9. A combination — Smaller versions of several policies "may prove more viable," or the cost of the plan could be reduced, CRFB notes.

Read the full report here.


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