News Release

Medicare for All: Tax Increases Not Needed

Medicare for All has become a key issue in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

An op-ed piece addressing the issue of costs — “We Don’t Need to Raise Taxes to Pay for Medicare for All” — appeared in the New York Times last week, written by National Priorities Project director Lindsay Koshgarian.

LINDSAY KOSHGARIAN, lkoshgarian at nationalpriorities.org, @nationalpriorities
Koshgarian wrote: “As Democratic presidential candidates debate the merits of Medicare for All, a Green New Deal or free college, a chorus of scolds from across the political spectrum will chime in to tell you we can’t afford it. All these ambitious policies of course will come with a hefty price tag. Proposals to fund Medicare for All have focused on raising taxes. But what if we could imagine another way entirely?”

“Over 18 years, the United States has spent $4.9 trillion on wars, with only more intractable violence in the Middle East and beyond to show for it. That’s nearly the $300 billion per year over the current system that is estimated to cover Medicare for All (though estimates vary).

“While we can’t un-spend that $4.9 trillion, imagine if we could make different choices for the next 20 years.

We’ve identified more than $300 billion in annual military savings alone that we could better invest in priorities like Medicare for All, working with the national grassroots movement, Poor People’s Campaign.”

Koshgarian acknowledged: “Remaking our military as a truly defense-based institution, rather than a war machine and A.T.M. for private contractors, will require major changes. It’s a project that can’t happen overnight, and it will need serious planning and wiser uses of some of our $50 billion surplus to ensure both U.S. security and that people leaving military service find new jobs in our economy. That’s no excuse for continuing to spend hundreds of billions in ways that make our world more dangerous and deny us the ability to seriously invest in things like jobs, health care, education and all that makes our lives better.”