Bernie Sanders details plan for single-payer healthcare system

As he and fellow Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton spar over health policy, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has announced more details about his Medicare-for-all, single-payer plan.

Last week, the Clinton campaign criticized Sanders' idea for a single-payer system, saying that it lacked specifics and that such a plan could raise taxes significantly.

But Sanders' proposal says the opposite would happen if the plan is implemented in its intended way. His plan, he says, would expand Medicare and build on the success of the Affordable Care Act. Additionally, patients would be able to choose their own doctors and receive comprehensive care for everything from hospital stays to emergency room visits to primary and specialty care. The Medicare-for-all plan would save $6 trillion over the next 10 years compared to the current system, according to a University of Massachusetts at Amherst economic analysis cited in Sanders' proposal.

In 2015, 25 percent of working-age adults who are privately insured had high healthcare cost burdens relative to their incomes. According to Sanders' plan, the typical family earning $50,000 a year would save nearly $6,000 annually in healthcare costs. Businesses would save more than $9,400 a year per employee, dropping the average from $12,591 to just $3,100.

However, individuals making $250,000 to $500,000 a year would be taxed at a rate of 37 percent, and the top rate would pay 52 percent, which would apply to those earning $10 million or more a year.

"Universal healthcare is an idea that has been supported in the United States by Democratic presidents going back to Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman," Sanders said in the announcement. "It is time for our country to join every other major industrialized nation on earth and guarantee healthcare to all citizens as a right, not a privilege."

Colorado residents plan to vote on a proposal for a single-payer, state-sponsored health insurance system this year. Sanders has been trying to bring a single-payer system to Vermont, but the effort has since stalled.

To learn more:
- here is the Sanders announcement

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