Elizabeth Warren releases plan to fund Medicare for All
Responding to pressure from her Democratic rivals, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren on Friday released a plan detailing how she would…
Responding to pressure from her Democratic rivals, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren on Friday released a plan detailing how she would fund her Medicare for All health care proposal if elected president in 2020. Warren said that her proposal “won’t raise taxes one penny on middle-class families.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., released a detailed plan Friday that she says would fully fund a “Medicare for All” bill and cover every American without premiums or deductibles, all with “not one penny in middle-class tax increases.”
Warren’s campaign estimates her plan would keep combined public and private health spending “just under” $52 trillion over the next 10 years, in line with projections under existing law, but would require the federal government to absorb $20.5 trillion in new spending. It seeks to use efficiency savings generated by Medicare for All to cover the uninsured at a similar total cost and add new benefits for dental, vision and long-term care.
“Medicare for All is about the same price as our current path — and cheaper over time,” Warren said in a Medium post. “That means the debate isn’t really about whether the United States should pay more or less. It’s about who should pay.”
Warren places most of the revenue burden on businesses and the wealthy. She plans to carry over almost all existing health funding from employers and state governments while also levying a variety of new taxes on the rich, corporations and high-earning investors — including doubling her signature wealth tax on billionaires.
Warren backs up her revenue and cost estimates with 44 pages of analysis from experts, including former International Monetary Fund chief economist Simon Johnson, former Obama economic adviser Betsey Stevenson, Moody’s chief economist Mark Zandi, and former Obama-appointed Medicare and Medicaid administrator Dr. Donald Berwick.
At the same time, there’s likely to be significant skepticism from outside experts about whether Warren could achieve the tens of trillions of dollars in revenue and savings targets that the plan calls for and whether its provisions would create unintended consequences for health care and the broader economy.
Politically, though, the hotly anticipated white paper should serve to quell critics and fellow 2020 opponents — at least temporarily — as it answers directly, and in detail, the latest prominent line of attack against her.
With her own answer now firmly in hand, Warren challenged those Democratic candidates who oppose Medicare For All to “put forward their own plan to cover everyone, without costing the country anything more in health care spending,” adding a final counter: “We need plans, not slogans.”
While Warren’s plan promises “not one penny in middle-class tax increases,” it does assume a reversal of President Donald Trump’s tax cut — a move Warren previously had backed that would raise taxes on some middle income families.
Her plan to raise $8.8 trillion through a tax on employers also generated criticism from some tax experts and 2020 rivals who argued that, regardless of its merits, it would be paid indirectly by workers and thus violated her claim not to raise middle class taxes.
“For months, Elizabeth Warren has refused to say if her health care plan would raise taxes on the middle class, and now we know why: because it does,” Kate Bedingfield, a spokesman for former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign, said in a statement. “Senator Warren would place a new tax of nearly $9 trillion that will fall on American workers.”
Warren’s campaign, and some outside experts, argue it’s effectively a substitution for the $9 trillion employers are already expected to pay toward health care in the same period, rather than a new tax.
“Workers already ‘pay’ this in wage-benefit tradeoff,” Adrianna Mcintyre, a health policy writer at the Incidental Economist, tweeted.
Other sources of revenue include raising her wealth tax to 6 percent on fortunes over $1 billion, treating capital gains for the top 1 percent as earned income and requiring taxes to be paid annually, imposing $2.9 trillion in new taxes on corporations and foreign earnings and creating a new 0.1 percent tax on financial transactions.