Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was probably being only a little sarcastic Monday night when he thanked libertarian-leaning conservative donors and activists Charles and David Koch for supporting his most famous proposal. "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 over a 10-year period," Sanders said, pointing to a new study published by Charles Blahous at the Koch-subsidized Mercatus Center at George Mason University.
In the white paper, Blahous estimates that Sanders' universal, single-payer health-care proposal would raise federal spending on health care by about $32.6 trillion from 2022 to 2031, but other economists noted that, according to the same report, federal health-care spending overall would drop by a little more than $2 trillion in that same period. There are a lot of caveats and untested assumptions in the numbers, but Sanders took the unintentional endorsement and ran with it.
Not that Sanders was 100 percent pleased with the Koch brothers. "The insurance companies, the drug companies, Wall Street, and the Koch brothers are devoting a lot of money to lobbying, campaign contributions, and television ads to defeat this proposal," he said. "But they are on the wrong side of history." Somebody should really write a white paper on that argument.