CBO Shows Medicare for All Could Cover Everyone for $650 Billion Less Per Year

The Congressional Budget Office on Thursday released a report examining the costs associated with universal healthcare proposals that are based on Medicare’s fee-for-service program and found that implementing a single-payer health insurance program in the United States would not only guarantee coverage for every person in the country but would also reduce overall healthcare spending nationwide. In the words of researcher Matt Bruenig—founder and president of the progressive think tank People’s Policy Project who

called the CBO’s working paper (pdf) on the topic “more exhaustive than any other recent study on the subject”—the new analysis shows that administrative costs under a single-payer healthcare system “will be lower than what even the most rabid Medicare for All supporters have traditionally claimed. According to Bruenig, “Modeling the cost of a single-payer program is relatively straightforward. You begin with the status quo healthcare system and then make educated guesses about the following questions:

  1. How many more units of healthcare services will be demanded and supplied when price barriers are removed?
  2. How much more efficient will health insurance administration be after the enrollment and payment systems are radically simplified?
  3. How much money will be saved by reducing the payment rates for healthcare providers and drug companies?”

In its analysis, the CBO looked at several distinct single-payer designs and determined that four such systems—fully implemented by 2030—would save anywhere from $42 billion to $743 billion that year alone. “Never let a politician ask: ‘How will we pay for it?’” tweeted Democratic Socialists of America for Medicare for All.