WSJ editorial board criticizes CBO's single-payer report

The Wall Street Journal's editorial board scrutinized the Congressional Budget Office's analysis of what a single-payer system could look like, calling the office's characterization of the "major undertaking" of single payer a "hilarious understatement."

Three takeaways:

1. CBO released its analysis May 1 (here's three things to know from the report) after Democrats asked CBO to publish some parameters on how to implement a single-payer system. In its piece, WSJ's editorial board commented on how CBO said moving "160 million people from employer-sponsored coverage to single payer would be 'complicated, challenging and potentially disruptive' to healthcare and the economy."

"You don't say," the editors wrote.

2. The editors also argued that under a single-payer system, patients couldn't see any physician they pleased "if government isn't paying providers what services really cost. The point of Medicare for All is to cut reimbursement rates to Medicare levels, which government can now set so low only because private commercial reimbursement rates are so much higher."

3. One of the editors' key critiques was CBO's evasion of single payer's cost details. CBO stated in its report that "government spending on healthcare would increase substantially." To this, the WSJ editors wrote: "Thanks for that. Honest private estimates suggest it would take at least a doubling of individual and corporate taxes. Proponents say the country will save money through lower administrative costs, which CBO says may materialize. But the real savings would have to come from where the money is: cutting payments to doctors and restricting care."

For the CBO's full analysis, click here.

More articles on payers:
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House Democrats unveil Medicare expansion plan: 8 things to know
Humana posts $566M profit in Q1

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