Health Topics

Medicare for All would Reduce Household Income by 11%, Study finds
Dr. Heather Boyd-Roberts

There is a political discussion about everyone having access to supposed free health care, known as Medicare for All. But do we understand what the costs to working Americans would be?

While the concept of free health care sounds very appealing, especially with the ever increasing cost of the medical system, we need to remain savey. We need to remember the most recent trigger that catapulted our health care costs with soaring deductibles and restrictions in what is covered. Ironically, this change seems to have paralleled the induction of The Affordable Care Act. Since the inception of the Affordable Care Act, more Americans are uninsured than ever before. Some argue that is why we need this new system, before we jump on the next best thing, we need to read between the lines. What are we giving up in order to get? And are we getting what we think we are?

Proponents of Medicare for All argue a government-run system would benefit consumers by costing less than what they have been paying for insurance, but that assumption is false. "How Medicare for All Harms Working Americans" found 73.5% of Americans would shoulder financial hardships under the proposed universal health care system.

Here are some consequences to American Workers that the Heritage Foundation found in analysis of 12,704 homes if Medicare for All would be enacted in our country.

1) 73.5% of Americans would shoulder financial hardships under the proposed universal health care system.

2) In order to fund a program like this study authors Edmund Haislmaier and Jamie Hall write, "Our analysis finds that in order to fund such a program, it would be necessary for the federal government to impose substantial, broad-based taxes equal to 21.2% for all wages and salary income." That 21.2% would be necessary to fund the increased usage of the medical system stimulated by this new found access.

3) Lower-income working families who currently get their health care through Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program would also be subjected to these higher taxes costing them $5,592 per year according to the Haislmaier and Hall.

4) Most workers would pay 21.2% more in federal payroll taxes, bringing the rate to 36.5% for most workers and the average annual disposable income for US households would decrease by an average of $5,671. This new payroll tax of 36.5% would apply to every dollar earned, from the lowest-paid worker to the highest, the study states.

5) People who receive health insurance from their employer would have an even bigger reduction in household income. Their disposable income loss would be $10,554 because they would lose the tax advantages from their employer insurance, which is currently untaxed.

6) The study found that 87.2% of households with employer-sponsored health insurance would be financially worse off.

These are a list of financial costs that don't take into consideration our loss in health coverage. Presently you can have a lipid panel run every year as your annual physical exam. Medicare will only cover your lipid panel every 5 years and they don't cover naturopathic services. So not only will your household income be lowered, for those of you who are proactive in your health care, you will be paying cash for all proactive preventative services.

So before you jump off the cliff, let's make sure the water is deep enough. Remember politicians are the greatest salesmen of all. Please read between the lines and do your due diligence before you make this big decision.

The original authors of this study used data from the 2016 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey of 12,704 households in making their calculations. Original source: Edmund Haislmaier and Jamie Hall, "How Medicare for All Harms Working Americans, " The Heritage Foundation, November 19, 2019. Unfortunately the link was corrupted, but if you paste this in your browser it will take you to the article: