Empower Wisconsin | Jan. 15, 2020
By Terrence Wall
Elizabeth Warren’s conservative cost estimates for her “Medicare for All” plan ring as hollow as her claims to Native American ancestry.
The Democrat presidential candidate pegs her plan’s price tag at north of $20 trillion over a decade, or about $2 trillion per year. That’s a half truth at best, and much of the media is complicit in the spin.
New government programs almost always cost more than advertised, in many cases significantly more. If history is any indicator, Warren’s universal health care bonanza would cost taxpayers at least twice as much as she claims.
“The federal government proceeds with large projects on the basis of estimated costs, but once projects get underway officials often revise the costs upward. The public ends up with a larger tax bill than originally promised,” states a report for Downsizing the Federal Government, a project of the Cato Institute. As the report points out, inflated costs have marked American governance since the founding of the country.
But there is another big cost that is being forgotten: the loss of jobs and the destruction of an entire industry. The private sector health care insurance industry would be obliterated under Warren’s single-payer plan. The industry employs hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. Many of these are family-supporting positions, part of the backbone of America’s middle class. A Kaiser Health News analysis finds a single-payer system like the one Warren proposes could kill 2 million health care-related jobs.
And all those jobs directly and indirectly support many millions of others. Think of the office space that won’t be built or rented, or the services and food not purchased by those health care employees.
Then there’s all those tax dollars paid by the insurance companies, their employees, and other indirect employees, including income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, etc. Literally billions of dollars in taxes foregone under Medicare for All.
$2 Trillion? That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Candidate Warren has no clue about the economic impact of her proposal for Medicare for All on the American economy. It would be devastating. And the ripple effect throughout the economy would have a massive negative cost.
Terrence Wall is the President and CEO of the T. Wall companies that specialize in development of office, multi-family, and neighborhood communities. He is is the only developer to receive the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Energy Efficiency.