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A new study on universal health care shows partisans are bad at reading studies.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The Mercatus Center, a libertarian think tank funded by the Koch Brothers, has done a cost analysis of the Medicare For All bill put forward by Bernie Sanders. The report concluded it would cost $32.6 trillion over ten years. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan voiced the common conservative response that this was a prohibitively expensive proposal:

But as Matt Bruenig pointed out in Jacobin, this sum would be a saving of over $2 trillion from what the United States as a whole would spend under the existing system.

“The net change across the whole ten-year period is a savings of $2.054 trillion,” Bruenig notes. “When talking about Medicare for All, it is important to distinguish between two concepts: national health expenditures and federal health expenditures. National health expenditures refer to all health spending from any source whether made by private employers, state Medicaid programs, or the federal government. It is national health expenditures that, according to the report, will decline by $2.054 trillion.”

The Mercatus report has had a predictably polarized response, with liberals denouncing it and conservatives defending the think tank:

Both sides are wrong here. Liberals should welcome a report that shows Medicare For All is a great bargain, while conservatives might want to find another source for their campaign against universal health care.