Vermont Senator, Democratic Presidential candidate and self-described “democratic socialist”, Bernie Sanders has been blowing the horn for universal, single-payer health care in the United States for years.
As recently as Feb. 2016, Sanders said, ” Every major country has managed to provide healthcare to all people and they are spending significantly less per capita than we are. I do not accept that the US can’t do that.”
However, it appears Mr Sanders has a very short memory, because it was his home state that attempted to enact the most visible state-run attempt at single payer health care only to discover what we knew all along–It’s just not sustainable.
On December 17, 2014, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin publicly ended his administration’s 4-year initiative to develop, enact, and implement a single-payer health care system in his state.
Shumlin said the plan, dubbed Green Mountain Care, which required a 11.5 percent payroll assessment on businesses and sliding premiums up to 9.5 percent of individuals’ income, “would hurt the economy”.
The $4.3 billion per year cost of the plan would have been almost as much as Vermont’s total state budget, around $5 billion.
“I have learned that the limitations of state-based financing, the limitations of federal law, the limitations of our tax capacity, and the sensitivity of our economy make that unwise and untenable at this time . . . . The risk of economic shock is too high,” Shumlin concluded.
Avik Roy, Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research wrote in Forbes a list of six reasons the Vermont plan failed to include forcing everyone to obtain more financially generous coverage than people currently have and the fact that a tax increase of 160 percent would be required.
Despite Vermont’s failure to enact a single payer health system, which actually wouldn’t be a true single payer system, Sanders still insisted it was not a failure.
“It’s not that it hasn’t worked out, it hasn’t been implemented,” he said.
That’s because it was just way too costly. Big surprise.
The reality of the numbers hasn’t fazed the utopian-minded Sanders who said in Apr. 2015, “The U.S. remains the only major country on earth that doesn’t guarantee health care to all of our people. And yet we are spending almost twice as much per capita. We have a massively dysfunctional health care system. And I do believe in a Medicare-for-all single-payer system, whether a small state like Vermont can lead the nation, which I certainly hope we will, or whether it’s California or some other state. At the end of the day, we need a cost-effective, high-quality health care system, guaranteeing health care to all of our people as a right.”
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