As Poll Numbers Slide, Warren Wrestles with Medicare for All Dilemma

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren holds a town hall event in West Des Moines, Iowa, U.S. November 25, 2019. REUTERS/Scott Morgan/File Photo

With support for Elizabeth Warren‘s White House bid sliding since the release last month of a divisive plan to overhaul healthcare, the Democratic presidential contender has made an effort to refocus her campaign in early-voting Iowa on her signature anti-corruption message.

Some supporters worry that shift could end up hurting the Massachusetts senator, however. Now that Warren has put her $20.5-trillion Medicare For All plan on the table, they want the candidate to try harder to win over doubting voters.

“I don’t think she should brush it under the rug,” retired teacher and Warren backer Karla Thompson, 60, said at a town hall in Marion, where her wife told the candidate she was worried about the plan. “That’s what will make or break her.”

For the moment, Warren appears to be treading carefully on the issue.

While she said little about Medicare for All while campaigning in Iowa last week, her campaign there has been mobilizing outside experts to hold town halls and educational house parties to convert skeptics, making an aggressive outreach in the crucial state that will kick off the nominating contests.

In three Iowa town halls, Warren mentioned Medicare for All only after asked or fleetingly at the end of her stump speeches. Her campaign, however, planned to host at least eight healthcare-specific events in the state over the following week, along with general policy discussions and trainings for the Feb. 3 caucuses.

The outreach reflects how the controversy around her proposal has become a central issue for Warren – even though she never set out to have it define her White House bid.

For months, Warren has been running on a populist message of fighting Washington corruption and Wall Street greed. But her promise to expand government health insurance coverage without raising middle-class taxes is what has drawn the most attacks from rivals who say it is unrealistic and from some voters concerned it is too extreme.

Warren’s momentum has stalled in the month since she announced how she would finance and implement the system, a policy previously tied most closely to U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who is also in the race.

A Nov. 6-13 CBS News/YouGov poll put Warren in fourth place in Iowa, trailing Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana. The same poll in mid-October had her tied for first with Biden.

Iowa state Senator Clair Celsi, who endorsed Warren, has suggested the campaign produce explanatory videos to persuade people leery of the proposal, just as she used to be.

“I think the people who are most critical of Medicare for All don’t even know what it is,” Celsi said.

The campaign would not comment on its efforts, but it has dispatched Iowa state policy director Spencer Dixon to educate voters, held deep-dive policy sessions and tapped local physicians to hold forth at house parties.

“I’ve got a lot of plans, and I’m glad to have a chance to talk about them,” Warren told reporters at an event last week at the University of Iowa, where she did not mention Medicare for All when asked how she would ensure quality healthcare for all women.

Gail Krupa, 75, said that was a missed opportunity. Krupa plans to caucus for Warren but fears not making an overt case for Medicare for All could hurt her chances.

“This would be a great place to go into the details,” Krupa said of the university town. “I don’t want her to lose votes over it.”

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James
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>Always Confused< "Everyone pays less for a better system and outcome". Is that why a lot of Canadians come to the United States for medical procedures they may need to wait YEARS for in Canada and pay for those procedures out of their own pocket here? Isn't this fiasco supposed to be FREE to everybody including Illegal Aliens? WHO PAYS THE MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS' SALARIES AND HOSPITAL CHARGES? Is THAT the "great universal, Socialized, single payer medical care" the sick, elderly and dying can look forward to? And where do Americans go for medical care when they're denied care here by… Read more »

General Confusion
Member

“YOUR stupidity does not warrant a response. NO confusion here about the FACTS you cannot understand.” Confused James I think it is stupid of us putting up with lousy health care that, at some point, will financially ruin or literally kill millions of us, when we COULD have something better and much cheaper. What facts can’t I understand? The rest of the developed countries have figured this out long ago. What I don’t understand is why more of us aren’t rioting in the streets for it here, too? Do YOU think that the U.S. isn’t up to it? We CAN’T… Read more »

General Confusion
Member

“WHO IS GOING TO PAY FOR THIS ABOMINATION WHEN THERE IS NO MORE MEDICARE AFTER 2026? Don’t try to BS your way away from the FACTS by changing the subject to just criticize me. IF you need medical coverage, consult an insurance company. That’s what they’re in the business for. M4A is an economic disaster for the Nation just waiting to happen under SOCIALISM. Apparently using common sense is not your strong suit.” Confused James What is wrong with you? We all pay for our health care the way we all (who can afford) to pay for it now. The… Read more »

General Confusion
Member

“And with the demise of the Medicare program by 2026, what will the effect of the M4A have EXCEPT to speed up that death so that NO ONE in the program designed for seniors will be covered. How smart is that?” Confused James Confused James lives in some sort of dystopia. EVERYONE gets covered, INCLUDING seniors in a universal health care system! What part of universal do YOU not understand? That includes old barnacles like you AND the politicians who all need to protect us better. EVERYONE! I don’t support a system that leaves my friends and family behind (or… Read more »

Sherri
Member

Americans will not vote for let’s insure all including illegals. There is an awakening where people finally realize what the left is about and for. It’s not for each person to have the God given right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They are hive mind, collective, globalists.

General Confusion
Member

““Universal” would include the choice neither to participate NOR to pay into.” I Ching

Yup. No confusion there.

Everyone needs health care protection and everyone participates in the only game in town. That’s the way it works. That’s the only way it CAN work; that’s why the ability to opt-in or -out is a fool’s game. That’s the way it works around the world, too.

Everyone pays less for a better system and outcome.

Screwtape
Member

Here’s how Bernie, Lizzie, and Joe could ALL prove the wonders of Medicare.

Forego the wonders of your taxpayer-funded Congressional benefits and GO ON MEDICARE. You are ALL old enough. YOU ALL TOUT IT and PUSH IT FOR EVERYONE ELSE.

I would feel safe in betting good money that IF by some disaster M4A passes there would be carve-outs for government, unions, and other allies. What part of FOR ALL is a lie?

Screwtape
Member

Ah…the would-be Empress has no clothes or means to pay.

Typical.

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