Whopper Alert: 'Study' Finds Medicare for All Would Save $450 Billion a Year and 68,000 Lives

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks to supporters at a primary night election rally in Manchester, N.H., Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

A study by researchers at the Yale School of Public Health shows that contrary to just about every other study published on the subject of Medicare for All, the program would actually save $450 billion a year and 68,000 lives.


Now really, who could ever vote against that? Will this study elect Bernie Sanders president?

How did they come to those conclusions? Smoke and mirrors, of course.

The Fiscal Times:

Previous estimates of the cost of Medicare for All have reached significantly different conclusions, ranging from a roughly 16% increase over current national health-care spending levels to a 27% decrease. This latest study relies on a new analytical tool to measure the impact of different provisions within Medicare for All as applied to real-world data (you can review and adjust the parameters of the analysis in the Single-Payer Healthcare Interactive Financing Tool).

A “new analytical tool”? “Real-world data”? Sounds impressive. Sounds like they actually know what they’re talking about. Is M4A the Holy Grail we’ve been praying for?

Not exactly. One of the most widely quoted studies on the true costs of M4A tells quite a different story.

The leading current bill to establish single-payer health insurance, the Medicare for All Act (M4A), would, under conservative estimates, increase federal budget commitments by approximately $32.6 trillion during its first 10 years of full implementation (2022–2031), assuming enactment in 2018. This projected increase in federal healthcare commitments would equal approximately 10.7 percent of GDP in 2022, rising to nearly 12.7 percent of GDP in 2031 and further thereafter. Doubling all currently projected federal individual and corporate income tax collections would be insufficient to finance the added federal costs of the plan. It is likely that the actual cost of M4A would be substantially greater than these estimates, which assume significant administrative and drug cost savings under the plan, and also assume that healthcare providers operating under M4A will be reimbursed at rates more than 40 percent lower than those currently paid by private health insurance.


The Yale study proceeds from some very different assumptions that don’t sound very “real-world” to me.

The researchers found that the proposed system would reduce total health-care expenditures by about 13% based on 2017 spending levels. Savings would come from a variety of sources. Here are some of the major savings the researchers found with Medicare for All, based on the 2017 total health care expenditure of nearly $3.5 trillion:

  • Reducing pharmaceutical prices via negotiation: $219 billion

  • Improving fraud detection: $191 billion

  • Reducing reimbursement rates for hospitals, physician, and clinical services: $188 billion

  • Reducing overhead: $102 billion

  • Eliminating uncompensated hospitalization fees: $78 billion in savings.

Get this now: Healthcare expenditures are rising at about 6 percent a year. And yet, M4A will reduce costs by 13 percent?

How did they figure 68,000 lives saved? Easy. Everybody knows that if everyone has health insurance, no one will die. Well, that may be a slight exaggeration. But perhaps the most bogus stat in this entire debate is that insurance coverage leads to treating disease early, thus “preventing” deaths. The problem with that? In order to be treated early, a disease has to be diagnosed. And for that to happen, people actually have to go to the doctor when they’re feeling bad. Even with insurance, most of us don’t.


Radicals like Sanders will continue to try and sell this snake oil. But even if Democrats win the White House, the House, and the Senate, Medicare for All will never become the law of the land.



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