Watch: CNN Catches Bernie Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez Wildly Spinning the Truth
I’ll say this much for Jake Tapper: I don’t necessarily agree with his politics (and let’s face the facts, those are out on display on a daily basis) but he at least has some journalistic standards.
That, unfortunately, isn’t a terribly good thing for either Sen. Bernie Sanders or Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez.
The Vermont independent and the Bronx Democrat/socialist have been the two loudest proponents of “Medicare for all,” which is a pleasant way of saying single-payer health care. It shouldn’t surprise you to learn that it’s exactly what it sounds like: an expansion of the Medicare program so that it covers every American.
What should surprise you is that Comrade Sanders says that a study which shows “Medicare for all” will save America money comes from none other than the Koch brothers — that evil libertarian duo who reside in a haunted free-market castle atop a stormy cliff of income inequality.
“Let me thank the Koch Brothers,” Sen. Sanders says in a recorded video, “of all people, for sponsoring a study that shows that ‘Medicare for all’ would save the American people $2 trillion dollars over a ten year period.”
“It shows that ‘Medicare for all’ is actually much more, is actually much cheaper than the current system we that pay right now,” Ocasio-Cortez says in another video.
Well, if the Koch brothers said it, it must be true — right? Well, as he’s occasionally known to do, Tapper decided to practice this little-known facet of his job description known as “real journalism” and checked out the numbers.
“Is that true?” Tapper said. “Did a study funded by the Koch Brothers indicate that ‘Medicare for all’ would actually save the U.S. government trillions of dollars?”
“No, it’s not true, at least not according to the author of the study,” he concluded.
The study, by the way, isn’t technically from the Koch brothers. It’s from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. We’ve reported on this before, and the basic premise of the Sanders/Ocasio-Cortez argument is that while the roughly $30 trillion we’d spend on “Medicare for all” is far more than what the government would spend normally on health care, it would be less than what we’d spend in total as a society.
The problem with these numbers is that they rely on incredibly faulty logic. They assume, for example, that our unsustainable health care costs continue unabated. Saving $2 trillion over a 10-year period given a system that’s already unsustainable means that it becomes only slightly less unsustainable. Oh, and this estimate assumes doctors now take considerably reduced Medicare rates for all patients — something that would almost certainly not happen, considering that would be totally unsustainable for the doctors.
“It is likely that the actual cost of (Medicare for all) would be substantially greater than these estimates,” study author Charles Blahous of the Mercatus Center, said, “which assume significant administrative and drug cost savings under the plan, and also assume that health care providers operating under (Medicare for all) will be reimbursed at rates more than 40 percent lower than those currently paid by private health insurance.”
Tapper noted that “it does seem pretty clear that the presentation being made by Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez about this study lacks a lot of context.”
“(T)he author of the study says they are not being accurate.”
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