Fiscal Watchdog Finds Bernie’s Healthcare Plan Could Blow $20 Trillion Hole in Federal Budget

Sanders Bernie healthcare plan budgetAccording to a new report by a nonpartisan fiscal watchdog organization, all of the healthcare proposals from the four leading Democratic candidates could create trillion-dollar deficits if enacted. And the biggest deficit hole would come from Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All plan which — in the worst-case scenario — could add nearly $20 trillion in federal debt.

That’s the finding of The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB), which is widely respected due to its academic approach to budget issues and its bipartisan leadership, including co-chairs Mitch Daniels, (who served as director of the Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush) and former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta.

“For each plan, we score the fiscal impact of coverage and other spending provisions, reductions in current and proposed health care costs, direct offsets proposed as part of their plans to expand coverage, and further offsets meant to finance remaining costs,” the CRFB report states. The organization created three separate estimates of costs and coverage — high-cost, low-cost and central. Then using the central estimate they project that over 10 years:

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden’s plan would add $800 billion to deficits;
  • Senator Elizabeth Warren’s health plan would add $6.1 trillion to deficits;
  • Senator Bernie Sanders’s health plan would add $13.4 trillion to deficits;
  • Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s plan would save $450 billion.

This fiscal analysis is particularly timely given the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) new Budget and Economic Outlook released Tuesday projecting a federal deficit of $1 trillion in 2020, adding to the more than $23 trillion in current debt.

The report repeatedly reminds readers that the CRFB is operating on relatively little specific information about the plans. “While the candidates have proposed significant new tax and spending policies, the detail and specificity on their campaign websites is less than what would appear in legislation. Furthermore, few of the specific policies have been scored by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), and many have not been estimated in their current forms by impartial sources,” the report states.

It does, however, offer an apples-to-apples comparison of the candidates’ proposals when it comes to the number of people they would insure and the impact on the federal budget.

If providing healthcare to all Americans is a voter’s top priority, for example, then Sanders and Warren offer the way to go:

“We estimate Biden would reduce the number of uninsured by 15 to 20 million… while Buttigieg would reduce the number of uninsured by 20 to 30 million. Both Warren and Sanders would reduce the number of uninsured by 30 to 35 million by offering universal Medicare for All coverage to virtually every U.S. resident,” the report states.

For voters concerned about adding a new entitlement to the federal budget, Pete Buttigieg has the only plan that theoretically reduces deficits in the central estimate. In the CRFB’s high-cost estimate, all of the plans cost more than they bring in, but in their low-cost estimates every plan lowers the deficit — except Sanders. His Medicare For All proposal adds nearly $9 trillion in debt under the rosiest of scenarios and nearly $20 trillion at the high end.

All of the plans rely on massive tax hikes and revenue increases, ranging from Joe Biden’s $1 trillion to Warren’s $20 trillion, along with various forms of government-imposed price and cost controls. These policies would impact the healthcare market, however the CRFB’s report doesn’t look at the broader economic impact of the plans.

“Health reform is about how much we pay in total and who runs the system, but it’s also about who pays how much. From a fiscal policy perspective, reducing or eliminating premiums and cost-sharing is much more significant than the impact of having the government playing a larger direct role of financing health spending,” the CRFB’s Marc Goldwein told InsideSources.

Some economists who spoke to InsideSources agree with the premise but argue that their viewpoint is just too narrow.

“Several years ago, I wrote that an explicit shift toward greater government control over healthcare would probably not be as earthshattering as many conservatives fear, because government involvement in healthcare is already so pervasive that our system acts even now like a quasi-single-payer system,” said Robert F. Graboyes, senior research fellow on health and technology as the Mercatus Center. “Ending out-of-pocket costs would almost certainly have a greater impact, because it would expand demand for healthcare without expanding the supply of healthcare resources.

“The tax impact might well have the greatest impact were we to move to Medicare for All; almost certainly, Congress would have to finance the program using enormous tax increases on income and/or wages, thereby creating powerful disincentives to investment and work. This is an argument I first heard from CRFB’s Marc Goldwein, and I find it highly persuasive,” Graboyes said.

Healthcare expert Avik Roy of The Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity (FREOPP) told InsideSources, “I have great respect for CRFB as an organization, but I don’t agree with their analysis. They say that the Warren plan will increase the deficit by $6.1 trillion over 10 years. Our analysis found it will increase the deficit by $15 trillion. And that’s just the Warren plan.”

“The FREOPP report specifically addresses the marketplace issue: “Elimination of patient cost-sharing will lead to soaring demand for health care services,” Roy writes. “The Warren plan does nothing to increase the supply of health care providers to keep pace with this soaring demand. Those whose incomes or wealth are below the U.S. median will have the most difficulty accessing care in such an environment.”

Marc Palazzo, executive director of the Coalition Against Socialized Medicine, also notes the unintended impact of the Democrats’ approach. “A government takeover of the health care industry comes with a hefty price tag of up to $52 trillion, a price that would inevitably be paid for with crushing taxes and a mountain of new national debt — and that doesn’t account for the human cost.”

“Implementing socialist price controls on the very innovative treatments that help save lives would radically reduce biopharmaceutical innovation. There is no doubt these plans would cause more harm than good for the patients they are supposed to serve,” Palazzo said.

Reprinted with permission from - Inside Sources - by Michael Graham

If You Enjoy Articles Like This - Subscribe to the AMAC Daily Newsletter!

Sign Up Today
Read more articles by Outside Contributor

Leave a Reply

44 Comment threads
45 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
54 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Patriot Will

Bernie is a true communist. Anyone who is so foolish or lazy as to be taken in by Comrade Sanders is emotionally naive and ignorant of the hypocrisy surrounding Bernie’s road to being materially rich. Bernie is actually a con man.

Alfonso Bedoya

I have yet to see anyone address the fact that with no increase in the supply of health care professionals (i.e., physicians, dentists, nurses and others), all the money available to shove into the proposed plans will be for naught. As a former health care professional (now retired) who treated Welfarians on a limited basis, I found that free care was abused in many ways by the health care recipients. They took their free HC services for granted, and expected people like me to be responsible for their own lack of responsibility. To add to the chaos, the State of California’s agency that ran the whole shebang had to approve any treatment plans that we had to send to them for prior authorization. It took extra time for me and my staff to prepare and send in the paperwork that “proved” that patients needed treatment. If emergency treatment were performed… Read more »

John Karkalis

Not only Bernie’s hare brained health plan, I fear if he is elected then Lincoln would be removed from the memorial and replaced by Karl Marx.
It gets worse!
If Pocahontas is elected then the Washington monument will be torn down to be replaced with a statue of Chief Sitting Bull, in the name of diversity you understand.
If Mayor Pete is elected? I can’t speak it in front of the good people of AMAC in graphic terms. Let’s just say that the Mall would be reserved for boys doing naughty things with boys and girls doing naughty things with girls.
I asked my brown tabby cat, Louie, (he’s politically savvy) about Joe Biden. Louie laughed, coughed up a hairball, and said, “You gotta be kidding, man!”
Make sure you are registered for November.

Press ONE for English

IF any of these plans would have a significant positive effect on improving the overall health of the populace, an interesting and more in depth argument could be had on the various issues involved, the potential benefits of a healthier population, social responsibility, the unintended effects of such plans etc but no reasonable person would expect any improvements of any sort (other than to the democrat voting results) to anyone for any reason from ANY of these schemes. Bottom line, people value things no more than what they pay for them. When something is FREE, then they value they place on those things is ZERO. We have seen this proved over and over again. Quick example, “poor” inner city residents routinely call 911 to have an ambulance transport them to the ER because they have the sniffles and don’t want to pay bus or cab fare or WALK to get… Read more »


Bernie’s plan would give free health care to illegals and green card holders. Combined with him relaxing border security, we would very quickly have most of Central America living in our country and being supported by tax rates that would have to be doubled or tripled. P.S. I hope he gets the democratic nomination‼️‼️ – That would mean 4 more years of Trump

Stephen Russell

NO to all above, no incentives to cut waste, fraud, or for innovation to cut costs, poor services, etc NO


And…the Democrats will allow the sue lawyers to continue to sue over every conceived slight of malpractice. MEDICINE IS NOT AN EXACT SCIENCE. System will stop working before a year’s end.


The estimates provided in this article are way too low compared to the cost analysis I have seen from other sources that have been shown to be far more accurate in scoring the true costs of various government programs. Since the CRFB decided to NOT disclose the metrics they used to formulate their estimates and also decided to NOT take into account the broader economic impact to the country such plans would impose, the estimates provided by the CRFB are of little credible value.


I’d like to see all these candidates give their riches to put towards the deficit we already have. They should then move into the neighborhoods they have created and live the life the average American lives. Middle America always foots the bill for these schemes and they just keep making more needy people. Why do so many people come to America from socialist and communist countries? Not because that type of government works, they want something better. Vote Trump in 2020!


This guy is a communist just like the rest of the democratics and we need to get this garbage out of our government and make sure anyone that tries to change our Constitution as Written is held accountable that is Treason you don’t like America than get out leave no one is forced to stay hear, and it needs to be made law and Enforced


If any one of them should get elected inflation would soar to levels like in Zimbabwe and all these “estimates” would be bunk. Financial cost aside, all of them are communists and the real cost to having them elected would be loss of freedom, loss of property, loss of our form of government and the right to be represented, and finally as in all communist countries a staggering loss of life from hunger and starvation and violence perpetrated on their behalf. Venezuela is a good example it went from being the richest country in South America to a communist dictator thug ruled police state where their medical system is bankrupt and the people are eating their pets.

Glenn Lego

Oh, Well! It’s only money. And as AOC says “We just need to print more!”


Let them move to one for the nations that currently have FREE health care and see how well that works. They are just trying to ruin this great nation. I think they are all crazy.

Rick J.

Anyone who thinks government can manage health care, should look at the VA. I have VA health care and it’s second rate, yet the money spent should be buying vets Gold care plus. If you want good health care, keep the government out of it. The more the government is involved in something, the more it costs and the worse the service.

Brenda Blunt

All of these plans are wrong!!! These idiots think the cash is always going to be coming in! These idiots need to give up their salary and withdraw from the race!! Need to vote them out as well!!! Lord help us!!

Walter R

I wonder if B. Sanders used Medicare when he had his heart surgery. Didn’t everyone go after President Trump saying he was not physically fit to be President-well what about BS and the rest of them. JB doesn’t even know what year it is and seems family corruption is staring him in the face Warren don’t know if she is and Indian and seemed to stretch the truth to get into college and wants to censor every one, Here comes the judge retract All Life matters. And the only one working for America is our President Trump! By the way there is a difference between Medicare and the other work/insurance programs and do you really think you will get exceptional health care with Medicare for all-who is going to pay for all of this?


The government needs to get out of our healthcare, and quit giving to illegals free when it our taxpayers money that pays for the poor AMERICANS with Medicaid, not illegals, the problem is the poor Americans can’t get decent help because these politicians keep giving it to those who are NOT ENTITLED to any help, and when we do allow anyone to come to this country even for a visit must have all vaccinations And pass a physical before they enter America, that’s the way it use to be, but as usual the government quit doing its job, just like these coming from China No they need to be quarantined to protect the population, how stupid that we have set back and let these criminals politicians to do what they want not for the better but to destroy America their one world order needs thrown out of America and anyone… Read more »


None of these plans are about helping folks with healthcare! It’s always about power and control to the left! If any of these plans get implemented the number of poor will also skyrocket as the middle class keeps losing jobs! Then these same leftist who think themselves superior to everyone else will find some conservative group to blame for their plans failures!!! And America falls into the same ruins plaguing Venezuela!!!

tony d willIiams

Not on the same subject.
The forced increase of minimum wage has very visible results. Kiosks in fast food stores, I went to the first one in many years, pretty empty inside and expensive. The diners my wife and I stop in had tripled the amount of waitresses. The local hardware stores have also tripled the amount of employees, we live in a small town. When the new employees have learned enough to be helpful it will be great.
Oh, wait a minute, there are no more full time employees. No more company paid health insurance, no full time employee wages, just part time wages with no benefits. Now the previous full time employees need to find another job, probably part time, so they can continue to pay the existing bills.


I don’t understand why there would be any uninsured under any their plans when everything given to the people free,