Just before Sunday’s Democratic primary debate in South Carolina, Bernie Sanders released the details of his Medicare-for-All universal healthcare proposal, saying it is “time for our country to join every other major industrialized nation on Earth and guarantee health care to all citizens as a right, not a privilege.”
The plan (pdf), also known as single-payer healthcare, builds on the successes of both Medicare and the Affordable Care Act (ACA), “eliminating expensive and wasteful private health insurance,” and saving taxpayers money by “dramatically reducing overall health care costs and bringing down skyrocketing prescription drug prices which are far greater in the United States than in any other country.”
According to the Sanders campaign:
The shift to universal health care would be paid for with a 2.2 percent health care premium (calculated under the rules for federal income taxes); a 6.2 percent health care payroll tax paid by employers; an estate tax on the wealthiest Americans and changes in the tax code to make federal income tax rates more progressive.
Under the plan, individuals making $250,000 to $500,000 a year would be taxed at a rate of 37 percent. The top rate, 52 percent, would apply to those earning $10 million or more a year, a category that in 2013 included only the 13,000 wealthiest households in the United States.