Bernie Sanders’ most expansive government program he’d implement during his presidency would be a socialized medicine system – effectively putting Obamacare on steroids.
The candidate has said he wants us to look to Scandinavia for economic lessons – as the Scandinavian nations have large welfare states featuring all kinds of government perks he’d like to implement.
If we want to know how socialized medicine would play out in America, though, we don’t need to look to Scandinavia. We need look no further than Bernie’s home state of Vermont.
As the Boston Globe reported last year:
Vermont took Obamacare a step further. In 2011, Governor Peter Shumlin proudly signed a bill to establish a publicly financed, single-payer system. The law required Shumlin to submit a detailed financial plan by 2013.
Shumlin missed the deadline, raising fears among supporters and critics alike that single-payer health care would cost much more than anticipated. Those fears were realized on Dec. 17, when Shumlin, two years late and just a month from narrowly winning reelection, released the financial analysis.
The numbers were stunning. To implement single-payer, the analysis showed, it would cost $4.3 billion in 2017, with Vermont taxpayers picking up $2.6 billion and the federal government covering the rest. To put the figures into perspective, Vermont’s entire fiscal 2015 budget, including both state and federal funds, is about $4.9 billion.
Shumlin’s office estimated the state would need to impose new personal income taxes of up to 9.5 percent, on top of current rates that range from 3.55 to 8.95 percent. Businesses would be hit with an 11.5 percent payroll tax, on top of 7.65 percent payroll taxes employer pay for Social Security and Medicare.
And even those tax increases might not have been enough. The governor’s office estimated the Green Mountain Care program would run deficits of $82 million by 2020 and $146 million in 2021. Shumlin said he feared the tax increases would harm businesses and the economy.
Socialized medicine was too expensive for liberal Vermont, and it’s too expensive for America.
The Wall Street Journal’s Laura Meckler estimated the cost of a Sanders presidency at an additional $18 trillion over ten years above what the government already spends. Fifteen trillion of that is attributable to socialized medicine.
I never thought I’d type these words – but let’s learn from Vermont.
[Note: This post was written by The Analytical Economist]