Warren Defends Support for Medicare For All And Wealth Tax During Debate

Henrietta Strickland
October 17, 2019

Elizabeth Warren's answer was the same.

Elizabeth Warren took a lot of flak at this week's Democratic presidential debate for being evasive about the taxes needed to pay for the $30 trillion Medicare for All plan she champions.

Warren defended her idea during the debate by saying costs will only go up for the wealthy and large businesses.

How Warren handles that criticism, which was abundant Tuesday and is likely to escalate in the coming weeks, will be a central test of whether she can maintain her standing.

While Warren has surged into the upper tier of candidates with former Vice President Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, redoubled their commitment to such a policy, with Warren drawing fire from all sides about her lack of detail surrounding the issue.

Even Beto O'Rourke, whose lane is clearly marked "the nice guy-and thanks, Amy, for taking care of the kids", came at Warren, calling her "punitive" and insisting she's "pitting some part of the country against each other, instead of lifting people up".

"Her taxes as they now exist are not enough yet to cover fully replacing health insurance", University of California, Berkeley economics professor Emmanuel Saez, who advised the Warren campaign when developing the wealth tax, told Bloomberg News on Wednesday.

"Cost will go up for the wealthy, they will go up for big corporations and for middle-class families, they will go down", she said. She can quickly explain that away by showing how much less such folks will pay, overall, in medical expenses.

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg seized on Warren's answer and attacked. "I don't understand why you believe the only way to deliver affordable insurance to everybody is to obliterate private plans".

"At least Bernie's being honest here", Klobuchar said. "But I want to give a reality check here to Elizabeth, because no one on this stage wants to protect billionaires", she said. "It's fascinating that the person who has a plan for everything has no plan for the single most consequential issue in this election in the minds of the American people across the board".

Again and again, Warren fell back to a practiced line, promising overall costs wouldn't go up on the middle class. In total, she's proposed an agenda that she estimates would cost almost $6 trillion, according to her campaign.

Saez said that eliminating health care premiums for individuals who are covered through their employers could be transformed into higher wages that would more than cover any tax increase. At the beginning of her campaign, she appeared to hesitate on whether she supported a quick transition to a nationalized health care system with no private insurance, before declaring unequivocally at the first Democratic debate in June that she was "with Bernie". "Period", Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel tweeted.

However, he added, even that would only garner a fraction of what she'd need to fully fund a health care plan.

Buttigieg, who has fashioned himself as a centrist candidate as the Democratic Party has veered leftward, was among the Democrats onstage Tuesday night who challenged Warren, who has emerged as a front-runner in the 2020 field.

Sherrod Brown-a notable leftist who has said he supports a single-payer health care system in theory-said in a CNN story that "it's a bad mistake if the Democratic nominee would publicly support 'Medicare for All.'" On Tuesday evening, two of the party's leading contenders for that nomination, Sens.

He added, "I expect those skills to be more on display in future debates as she grows into a front-runner status".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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