From the above article:
How to pay for it?
The Sanders plan goes into great detail on what kind of coverage a universal plan ought to offer. But it does not do any work explaining how to payfor such a generous benefit package.
"There's nobody who has all of the answers," Sanders told my colleague Jeff Stein when asked about the financing of his health plan. "Nobody has all the answers. What I can say is we are going to be listing a number of revenue-raising proposals, which will generate more than enough money to pay for what we want to do."
Eventually though, somebody will need to have those answers -- and they're not easy to find.
Financing the health care system that Sanders envisions is an immense challenge. About half of the countries that attempt to build single-payer systems fail. That's Harvard health economist William Hsiao's estimate after working with about 10 governments in the past two decades. Whether he is in Taiwan, Cyprus, or Vermont, the process is roughly the same: Meet with legislators, draw up a plan, write legislation. Only half of those bills actually become law. The part where it collapses is, inevitably, when the country has to pay for it.
This is what happened when Sanders's home state of Vermont attempted to create a single-payer plan in 2014. Much like Sanders, local legislators outlined a clear vision of the type of health plan they'd want to extend to all Vermonters. Their plan was arguably less ambitious; it did require patients to pay money when they went to the doctor.
But Vermont's single-payer dream fell apart when the state figured out how much it would need to raise taxes to finance its new system. Vermont abandoned the government-run plan after finding it would need to increase payroll taxes by 11.5 percent and income tax by 9 percent.
It's true -- in Vermont and in the United States -- that these increased taxes don't necessarily mean overall health spending is rising. It's entirely possible that health spending will go down as taxes go up, with Americans no longer spending billions on premiums for employer-sponsored coverage.
Single-payer systems change who pays for health care, often shifting more of the burden onto wealthier individuals to create a more progressive system. The proposed 9 percent income tax in Vermont, for example, would be far more expensive for the $100,000 worker than the $30,000 earner.
But who pays how much more is a key question this Sanders bill doesn't answer. Until there is a version that does, we can't know whether the health system the Vermont senator envisions could actually become reality.