Republicans jumped at the opportunity this week to cite a Koch Brothers-funded Mercatus Center study to prove once and for all what they have been claiming all along–Medicare-for-All (aka “single-payer health care”) is too expensive, despite its economic advantages, and popularity among the public and U.S. lawmakers.
But what those attacks conveniently omit is the fact that in their attempt to discredit single-payer, the monolithic Kochs accidentally made a case for it.
On Monday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) released a video thanking the infamous benefactors for libertarian and conservative causes for backing a study confirming the plan for universal coverage would save the country $2 trillion over ten years.
“Let me thank the Koch brothers, of all people, for sponsoring a study that shows that Medicare- for-All would save the American people $2 trillion dollars. I suspect that that is not what the Koch brothers intended to do, but that is what’s in the study of the Mercatus Center. At a time when the United States spends far more per capita on healthcare than any other country on Earth, almost 18 percent of our GDP, a Medicare-or-All healthcare system would save the average family significant sums of money.”
David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler, health policy experts and co-founders of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), told The Intercept on Monday:
“The Mercatus Center’s estimate of the cost of implementing Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Medicare-for All-Act projects outlandish increases in the utilization of medical care, ignores vast savings under single-payer reform, and fails to even mention the extensive and well-documented evidence on single-payer systems in other nations—which all spend far less per person on health care than we do.”
“[The] report undercounts administrative savings by more than $8.3 trillion over 10 years. Taking those savings into account would lower Blahous’s estimate from $32.6 trillion to $24.3 trillion.”
So they are prepared to pump unprecedented sums of money to tip the scales in Republicans’ favor.
The party in power, currently Republicans, typically loses seats in mid-term elections. Democrats trouncing Republicans in state and local elections in November indicates this trend is likely to continue.
But it’s more than just money they are contributing.
In an effort to maintain their hold over the Republican agenda, the Kochs are actually engaged in a campaign to turn establishment Republicans against Donald Trump’s White House.
They did not support him in 2016, but lined up behind him after he signed the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” into law at the end of last year, worked to de-regulate Obama-era environmental regulations, and nominated ultra-conservative Supreme Court justices.
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