By Isiah Holmes / 06.01.2016
One lingering criticism of Bernie Sanders is the widely reported expense associated with his policies. More recently, a Tax Policy Center analysis decrying Sander’s plan’s has been making rounds in the mainstream. Despite the attention brought to the damning study, fewer outlets are reporting it’s been partly invalidated.
The Tax Policy Center, a Washington-based nonpartisan research center, made headlines with a recent Bernie-busting analysis. By comparing cost estimates of Sanders policies and associated tax increases, TPC predicts a $18 Trillion national debt increase by 2026. With the analysis expecting only an additional $15 trillion in tax revenue, TPC concludes Sanders would spend $33 trillion more than Obama. According to AOL, national debt rose by almost $9 trillion, while TPC’s analysis predicts a $19.2 trillion jump under Bernie.
“It’s important to note that this is just one analysis”, the piece read, alluding to other studies worthy of critique. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, AOL reports, estimates a rise of $2-15 trillion in debt–quite the gap.
While several outlets circulated the damning report, and still do, others discovered equally damning flaws in the analysis. A Huffington Post op-ed published shortly after AOL’s article focused on TPC’s single payer health care estimates, just one facet of the study.
Huffington Post called the estimates “ridiculous” and “outlandish”, explaining TPC ignored the savings under the single payer model. Overall administrative savings for doctors and hospitals, Huff Post reports, would amount to 2.57 trillion over 10 years under Sanders’ plan.
The report similarly deny’s single payer’s well documented history of amassing savings dwarfing the costs. From the early 90’s to the present day, numerous analyses’ have been conducted by US entities alone, state and private alike. From university professors at New Mexico, to a massive coalition of doctors and healthcare workers, to the Congressional Budget Office. In 1991, the Congressional Budget Office found “if the nation were to adopt a single-payer system that paid providers at medicare’s rates, the population that is currently uninsured could be covered without dramatically increasing national spending on health.”
Tax Policy Center’s study also claimed physician incomes would be slashed, contradicting its claims of increased spending on physician care.According to Huffington Post, TPC’s analysis warned that patients may be disrupted, though this hasn’t happened in other countries using single payer.
Another questionable area was TPC’s estimates of insurance overhead under single payer. Tax Policy Center’s’ analysis estimated insurance overhead to drop to 6% of total health spending from the current 9.5%. However, they based these numbers off medicare’s current overhead affected by insurance firms. The very same insurance firms which would be done away under a single payer system, in fact. A more realistic estimate for overhead, Huffington Post reports, is around 1.8%-2%, saving another $1.7 trillion. Tax Policy Center’s study also ignored hospital savings, recognized by single payer analysts.
Hillary Clinton’s plan rests on building upon the Affordable Care Act, though criticism looms for this as well. “We are going to have to figure out how to get more competition in the insurance market”, says Clinton, Forbes reports. One major kink in the Affordable Care Act revolves around it’s dependence on insurance firms, which ramps up prices.
One study found Obamacare rose non-group health care premiums by 49% in the average American county. The Forbes piece also expresses skepticism that a candidate who’s accepted over $2 million in speaking fees from the healthcare industry is “ideologically and politically” willing to roll back Obamacare’s issues which involve that industry.
Interestingly, 11 days after AOL’s piece ignited the Bernie burning study, a reprint was issued. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget reputedly changed its own estimates to $19 trillion, eliminating its previous, dubious gap. Additionally, Tax Policy Center’s study was conducted by John Holaha, fellow at the Urban Institute. Whereas Huffington Post mentions Holaha and the Urban Institute, neither of AOL’s pieces do.
The Tax Policy Center is actually a joint venture of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution. Urban Institute is described a “leading liberal” Washington DC-based think tank for economic policy. It’s funded by government contracts and a slew of private donors, including the Ford and Rockefeller foundations. Hillary Clinton has done speeches for Ford and is connected to Rockefeller via her leaked emails.
A search of Wikileaks’ archive of emails by Free Thought Project revealed Clinton was offered “a suite of offices after you leave state for your own use at Rockefeller Fdtn.” That message was sent by Judith Rodin, Rockefeller Foundation CEO. Other emails also connect her with the Rothschild family, and both groups have been implicated in numerous questionable activities. Clinton’s self-described “loyal adoring pal” Lynn F. de Rothschild, FTP reports, informed Hillary of a how a journalist was eager to create a fluff piece for Parade Magazine. More recently, a pro-Clinton SuperPAC was found be to allocated $1 million to fight Clinton critical social media chatter.
The rabbit hole sinks even deeper, with outlets now citing the study’s more brow-raising qualities. According to International Business Times, shortly following media picking up the study’s headline, Washington Post pushed out 4 Sanders-critical pieces in 7 hours.
IBT also points out how those very same outlets ignored both the Urban and Brookings Institute’s’ connections to big pharma, and the health insurance industry. The groups, IBT reports, also receives funding from the fossil fuel, Wall Street firms, and Koch brother endeavors.
Thus returning the conversation to a critical component of the Sanders campaign–intense illumination of big money politics. Movements independent, though supportive of, Senator Sanders have been equally dismissed or outright ignored. It’s important to ask what drives the promotion of certain stories and the relegation of others, as well as studies. Every bit as important as the analysis itself is who conducted the study, and from where their bread comes.