Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders thinks Americans “would be delighted” to pay higher taxes to create a government-funded health care system.
“Yeah, but I suspect that a lot of people in this country would be delighted to pay more in taxes if they had comprehensive health care as a human right,” Sanders said.
Sanders extolled the virtues of Canada’s system of health care. “I live 50 miles away from the Canadian border. You go to the doctor any time you want. You don’t take out your wallet. You have heart surgery, you have a heart transplant and you come out of the hospital and it costs you nothing,” he said.
At least one observer tweeted that paying taxes for health care means it would not really be without cost.
stupid man, if we have to pay more taxes then it isn’t free, we are paying for it so others can have it https://t.co/hjsEyIHNii
— Linda Roebuck (@taterhead10) June 13, 2019
Sanders said that a higher standard of living financed by taxpayers helps everyone.
“Your kids in many countries around the world can go to the public colleges and universities tuition-free, and wages in many cases are higher,” Sanders said.
“So there is a tradeoff, but at the end of the day, I think, that most people will believe they will be better off when their kids have educational opportunities without out-of-pocket expenses and when they have health care as a human right and they have affordable housing, when they have decent retirement security, I think most Americans will understand that is a good deal,” he said.
What Sanders said differs from how Americans responded to a January poll.
A Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that there was broad underlying support for a single-payer health system model, which 56 percent of respondents favored and 38 percent opposed.
Then came reality. When the poll asked respondents if they would support Medicare-for-all if it raised taxes, only 37 percent were in support and 61 percent were opposed.
Sanders last month addressed how his vision of health care would be paid for, according to The Daily Caller.
“What we have chosen not to do … is to tell you how I’m going to raise every nickel in a $3.5 trillion budget,” Sanders said at a New Hampshire town hall event.
“That’s something that is going to have to be discussed. So, I wanted to lay out the program as to what it would mean and to tell you that it will cost you and ordinary Americans a lot less than you are currently spending on average.”
Sanders said revenue for Medicare-for-all will “probably end up looking like a payroll tax on employers and increase in income taxes in a progressive way.”
He told his supporters there would be a “significant deductible” for “ordinary people.” Individuals with low incomes “will pay nothing for it,” though “upper-income people will pay more.”
“Admittedly, this is a complicated issue — we’ve been wrestling with it for years,” Sanders said.
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