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2 Sanders fact checks: On extra jobs and Medicare-for-all

“Millions of Americans are forced to work two or three jobs just to survive.”

— Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)

Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that nearly 8 million people hold more than one job. But most of those extra jobs are part time, not full time. And the “millions” of people amount to just 5 percent of Americans with jobs. So that means 95 percent of workers are not working two or three jobs “just to survive,” making this a misleading statement.

“Medicare-for-all will eliminate the $28,000 a year that the average American family today is forced to pay to insurers.”

— Sanders

Sanders uses this figure to argue that any tax increase because of his health-care plan would be less than what an average family currently pays in premiums, co-payments and deductibles for health insurance. The $28,000 estimate comes from the 2018 Milliman Medical Index. The index estimates the total cost of health care for an average family of four and includes fees usually covered by an employer. Leaving out this aspect makes Sanders’s claim misleading.

Employers cover about 57 percent of that $28,000. So to an average family of four, the cost of health care appears to be $12,000. (Basic economics says the employer contribution is part of the overall paycheck, but most people don’t “feel” that money.) If Sanders wants most families to feel as if they’re saving money, any tax increase from Medicare-for-all would have to be less than the visible cost of health care — that is, $12,000.

Fact-checking the first Democratic debate

Twenty candidates are taking the stage Wednesday and Thursday night, with 10 candidates each night. The Fact Checker will be watching and vetting the statements candidates make.