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Source: The Washington Post

The two presidential candidates who have most strenuously backed Medicare-for-all are scrambling to ease concerns that it would create higher costs for many middle-class Americans.

Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) are running on a multitrillion-dollar plan Sanders wrote to provide health insurance coverage to all Americans through the federal government, rather than from private insurers. Although they have frequently stressed that the middle class would see overall costs go down, a wide range of experts — including one whom Sanders has relied upon — say it is impossible to make those guarantees based on the plans that the candidates have outlined so far.

“Obviously, all of the 180 million people who have private insurance are not going to pay less. It’s impossible to have an ‘everybody wins’ scenario here,” said Kenneth Thorpe, chairman of the health policy department at Emory University. “The plan is by design incredibly disruptive. As a result, you create enormous winners and losers.”

“There’s no question it hits the middle class,” he added.

John Holahan, a health policy expert at the nonpartisan Urban Institute agreed: “Even though high-income people are going to pay a lot more, this has to hit the middle class.”

Several other economists who specialize in health care say it is difficult to predict how most Americans would be impacted, given far-reaching effects to the nation’s two most complicated systems, health care and taxes. They include one to whom the Sanders campaign referred The Washington Post.

Robert Pollin, a professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst who has consulted with Sanders, said he has been baffled by how the senator from Vermont talks about the proposal and says there are not enough details to analyze how the middle class would be impacted.

“I didn’t try to decipher. Theirs was too complicated,” he said. “They don’t go into a whole lot of detail. . . . The Sanders proposal to me was not clear enough to enable me to make the estimates on different types of families.”

Their skepticism comes as voters are seeking more (Continue Reading)

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