William Galston on Sanders’ single payer

by John McClaughry

William Galston, a White House advisor in the Clinton years, is the thoughtful moderate Democrat columnist for the Wall Street Journal. He had a piece a week ago looking at Bernie Sanders Medicare for All proposal.

It led off describing Gov. Peter Shumlin’s experience in trying to install a Medicare for All clone here in Vermont. Shumlin gave up, Galston says, when he found it would require a 11.5% payroll tax, plus as much as a 9.5 percentage point increase in the state income tax. Galson didn’t mention that Shumlin came within a hair of being ousted in the 2014 election, by a inept Republican opponent who didn’t even make single payer health care a campaign issue.

Galston is concerned that a Democratic rush to jump on Sanders’ Medicare for All bandwagon could seriously backfire. He writes, “In May 2016, the Urban Institute released its analysis of the Medicare for All proposal Sanders offered during his presidential campaign. It found that of the plan were enacted into law, federal spending would rise by $2.5 trillion in the plan’s first year, and by $32 trillion over the first decade.”

Galston’s advice to aspiring Democratic presidential candidates is “look before you leap”.

Bernie Sanders career of promises has featured a long list of free stuff – free  health care, free college tuition, mandated pay raises paid for by the rich and the big corporations. “Medicare for All” may turn out to be a harder sell than some Democrats think.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

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