Democrat Warren: Medicare for All Would Not Raise U.S. Middle-Class Taxes ‘One Penny’

Brian Snyder/File Photo/Reuters

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren on Friday proposed a $20.5 trillion Medicare for All plan that she said would not require raising middle-class taxes “one penny,” answering critics who had attacked her for failing to explain how she would pay for the sweeping healthcare system overhaul.

Warren said her plan would save American households $11 trillion in out-of-pocket healthcare spending over the next decade while imposing significant new taxes on corporations and the wealthy to help finance it.

“Healthcare is a human right, and we need a system that reflects our values,” Warren wrote in a 20-page essay outlining her plan. “That system is Medicare for All.”

The proposal to remake the U.S. healthcare system will face scrutiny from Warren’s more moderate Democratic opponents, who have questioned Medicare for All’s practicality.

Warren’s proposal also calls for cuts in defense spending and passing immigration reform to increase tax revenue from newly legal Americans, two steps that would face an uphill battle in Congress. The $20.5 trillion in new spending over 10 years would increase the entire federal budget by a third.

Warren, a U.S. senator from Massachusetts, is one of 17 Democrats vying for the party’s nomination to take on Republican President Donald Trump in the November 2020 election. She is near the front of the pack in opinion polls, having closed in on former Vice President Joe Biden, the early front-runner.

Medicare for All would replace private health insurance, including employer-sponsored plans, with full government-sponsored coverage, and individuals would no longer have to pay premiums, deductibles, co-pays or other out-of-pocket costs.

It would extend Medicare, the U.S. government’s health insurance program for people 65 years and older and the disabled, to cover all Americans, including the roughly 27.5 million – 8.5% of the population – who are currently uninsured.

Warren, a former law professor, has become known for a bevy of detailed policy proposals. But she had faced criticism for not detailing how she would pay for a Medicare for All plan she backs, which was introduced in the Senate by rival Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

At recent debates, Warren had refused to answer directly when asked whether she would be forced to raise middle-class taxes to cover the costs, even as Sanders acknowledged he would.

More moderate 2020 candidates such as Biden and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg have said Medicare for All would be too disruptive and favor a more incremental approach.

‘MATHEMATICAL GYMNASTICS’

On Friday, Biden’s campaign questioned Warren’s calculations, calling them “double talk” and “mathematical gymnastics” and asserting that middle-class taxes would rise despite her vow.

“It’s impossible to pay for Medicare for All without middle-class tax increases,” said Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s deputy campaign manager. “To accomplish this sleight of hand, her proposal dramatically understates its cost, overstates its savings, inflates the revenue, and pretends that an employer payroll tax increase is something else.”

Warren, speaking to reporters in Iowa on Friday, said she was “just not sure where he (Biden) is going,” adding that her proposal and its costs were authenticated by outside experts.

“Democrats are not going to win by repeating Republican talking points and by dusting off the points of view of the giant drug companies and the giant insurance companies,” Warren said.

House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi also questioned the feasibility of enacting Medicare for All, saying in an interview with Bloomberg on Friday that Democrats should focus on expanding the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.

Critics like Warren note that the current U.S. healthcare system – a patchwork of private insurance often provided by employers or obtained through Obamacare marketplaces and public programs covering the poor, elderly and disabled – is the most costly in the world despite leaving tens of millions uncovered.

Medicare for All legislation stands little chance of passing Congress, where Democrats control the House and Republicans control the Senate.

The plan relies on aggressive ways of lowering healthcare costs, including major cuts in prescription drug prices and significant reductions in administrative costs by eliminating private insurers.

“She makes some assumptions about how effectively healthcare costs could be contained that may not pan out,” said Larry Levitt, a health policy expert at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Employers would be asked to repurpose the money they currently spend on workers’ healthcare into Medicare contributions, while billionaires, high-earning investors and corporations would face trillions of dollars in higher taxes.

In an effort to appease union leaders, some of whom have expressed skepticism about giving up hard-fought healthcare plans, Warren said employers that already offer benefits under a collective bargaining agreement could reduce their contributions if they pass the savings along to workers.

Warren released two letters supporting her calculations from several experts, including Simon Johnson, the former chief economist for the International Monetary Fund; Donald Berwick, who oversaw Medicare in the Obama administration; and Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics.

An online calculator launched by Warren’s campaign showed an average family of four with employer-provided insurance would save $12,378 per year.

Warren said with her Medicare for All plan in place, projected total healthcare costs in the United States over 10 years would be just under $52 trillion – slightly less than maintaining the current system.

(Reporting by Amanda Becker and Joseph Ax; Additional reporting by John Whitesides in Iowa; Editing by Colleen Jenkins, Will Dunham and Jonathan Oatis)

What do you think?

-13 pledges
Upvote Downvote

Comments

newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Charles
Member

The only thing they serve is crow.

Millie Tyler
Member

President Trump has gone to a lot of trouble getting big corporation to come back to the US. Warren needs to shut her mouth or they will be packing their bags to leave again. How dumb does she think we are? Maybe the additional money won’t be in the form of taxes but it will be leaving because of higher costs everywhere else. Everything the middle class pays for would go up. Did you notice? She didn’t say, “You can keep your doctor.” Here’s my plan: Everyone who votes for her has to pay for and go on her plan… Read more »

General Confusion
Member

“Like I or other taxpayers could give a shit about them when we have our own interests THAT WE PAY FOR.” I Ching

Plus more sad commentary that exposes you for what you are. It is people like you who say “I’ve got mine, everybody else can just screw themselves” that has partly created the divided nation that we have today.

Humans created civilization to so that we all could help each other as a society. Other animals do the same thing. You should join civilization, some day.

ron
Member

hey liz how about this. if you do get this to pass and the rich don’t pay for it and the middle class taxes go up you will leave the country for good, so let me say good bye now

Screwtape
Member

Lyin’ Lizzie is actually telling the truth, or at least her version. IF she taxes only corporations and the wealthy (will she include Bernie and herself among them?) then the middle-class won’t pay in taxes.

We’ll pay in increased costs of good and services. No sane or educated consumer would believe otherwise.

Sam Fox
Guest
Sam Fox

Well, for once Fakeahauntass told the truth. Her socialist/fascist plan won’t raise taxes by 1 penny. It’ll be several thousand pennies. How clever of her! LOL

SamFox

Charles
Member

Remember when Democrats, led by Pelosi and the all powerful Obamanation told us that Obamacare would not raise premiums. Who believed that one? Well, the Democrat cult followers did. Then, they tried to blame the increases in premiums on Republicans who tried to sound the alarm. This is more of the same. Promise no tax increases and then double or triple taxes to pay for it. When it adds trillions to the debt, Democrats will blame Republicans again. Methinks Pocahontas is brain dead and a liar. Ride her out of town on a rail.

William Conley
Member

Here’s my proposal Chief Warren of the made up tribe. Whatever sham plan you enact FORCE all members of Congress, and Senate every single government employee at every single level enroll in this. Then make who’s paying and how much transparent 100% set flat rates that everyone pays, and if your income is higher you just pay more because you can afford it. They have all these loopholes for the rich and connected while us commoners have to pay a percentage no wiggle room. Tax everyone 15% of their income and that’s exactly what they pay period. The thing is… Read more »

Loading…

0

Comments

0 comments

U.S. Energy Chief Perry Refuses to Testify in Trump Impeachment Inquiry

Democrat O’Rourke Drops out of 2020 Presidential Race