By Nick Givas
Published July 28, 2019
Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has come under fire for not explaining how he'll pay for his government-run "Medicare-for-all" plan, but took time to address the criticisms during a Sunday interview with Jake Tapper, claiming a tax hike will likely be necessary.
Sanders claimed his plan will cut billions of dollars in health care costs by eliminating red tape and passing the price tag along to wealthier taxpayers. He also slammed fellow 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden for challenging the tangibility of the proposal.
"The wealthy will obviously pay the lion’s share of those taxes, but at the end of the day the vast majority of the American people will pay substantially less for the health care that they now receive. Because we’re going to do away with hundreds of billions of dollars of administrative waste," he said on CNN's "State of the Union."
"We're going to do away with the incredible profiteering of the insurance companies and the drug companies. So people will be paying, in some cases, more in taxes but overall... they'll be paying less for their health care. Obviously, health care is not free. Right now we pay for it through premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. In Canada, it's paid through taxes. We'll have to do that."
Tapper said a senior Biden aide was planning to contrast the former vice president with other candidates, by pointing out how a "Medicare-for-all" plan would raise taxes on the middle-class. Sanders called those claims dishonest.
"That is disingenuous, on the part of Joe. Yeah, it's going to mean higher taxes. But if I raise your taxes say hypothetically by $8,000, and I lower the health care costs that you’re now paying with premiums and deductibles which are now $12,000, you’re $4,000 in the good," he replied.
"We are the only major country on Earth that does not guarantee health care to all," Sanders continued. "So we, under a 'Medicare-for-all', are going to substantially lower prescription drug costs. We're going to do away with the incredible complexity and bureaucracy and waste in the current system. But at the end of the day, again, you may pay more in taxes -- you're not paying premiums, you're not paying co-payments, you're not paying deductibles. You will pay less for your health care costs than you're currently paying right now."
The lead sponsor of the bill in the House, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., claimed the plan would put 1 million private health insurance employees out of work, during an American University town hall in May.
"There are a lot of people who work in the private insurance industry," Jayapal said. “We have thought carefully about how we’d take care of those folks because we think those people are very important.”
A video taken by the political action committee, "America Rising,” shows Jayapal saying “a million people" will "be displaced if 'Medicare-for-all' happens" and proposing the use of more taxpayer funds to mitigate the fallout.
"We have set aside 1 percent a year of the total cost of the bill for five years to take care of a transition for employees in the private insurance sector," she said. "If they are able to retire, that might be one, pension guarantees, job training so they can move into a different system."
Fox News' Adam Shaw contributed to this report