Dem rivals snag Warren on who’s paying for her Medicare for All ‘pipe dream’

(Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has all but closed the substantial gap former Vice President Joe Biden once enjoyed in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, and with her surge, Warren is getting a taste of what it feels like to be a front-runner.

At Tuesday night’s debate, the fourth among the Democrats, Warren was repeatedly targeted for her Medicare for All plan.

The candidate said she would raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans and lower costs for middle-class families in pursuit of the plan, but dodged questions Tuesday evening about whether she would also raise taxes on the middle class to help pay for it.

When asked to respond “yes or no,” on whether she would raise taxes, Warren replied, “Cost will go up for the wealthy, they will go up for big corporations and for middle-class families, they will go down. I will not sign a bill into law that does not lower costs for middle-class families.”

 

This would prompt a stinging rebuke from South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the first openly gay candidate to run for president.

“Well, we heard it tonight — a yes-or-no question that didn’t get a yes-or-no answer,” he said.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., didn’t mince words in responding to the dodge.

“At least Bernie’s honest here and saying how he’s going to pay for this,” Klobuchar said.

“I appreciate Elizabeth’s work,” she added. “But again, the difference between a plan and a pipe dream is something you can actually get done.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is pushing a universal health care plan and acknowledges that the middle class will see a tax increase to help pay for it — Warren has expressed support for Sanders’ plan.

“I do think it is appropriate to acknowledge that taxes will go up,” Sanders said. “They’re going to go up significantly for the wealthy. And for virtually everybody, the tax increase they pay will be substantially less, substantially less than what they were paying for premiums and out-of-pocket expenses.”

Warren claimed she went to Washington, D.C. to study “why hard-working people go broke.”

“One of the reasons for that is the cost of health care,” the candidate said. “Back when I was studying it, two out of three families that ended up in bankruptcy after a serious medical problem. The problem we have got right now is the overall cost of health care. You can try to spin this any way you want. I have spent my life on working on how America’s middle class has been hollowed out and how we fight back.”

Buttigieg blasted Warren later for wanting to do away with private health insurance — he’s pushing a Medicare for All plan that retains private insurance, saying his plan is for “all who want it.”

“I don’t think the American people are wrong when they say what they want is a choice,” Buttigieg said. “I don’t understand why you believe the only way to deliver coverage for everybody is to obliterate private plans.”

The Democratic mayor released an aggressive ad ahead of Tuesday’s debate hitting Sanders and Warren for their “Medicare for All” proposals.

The digital ad, titled “Makes More Sense,” features television personalities talking about Buttigieg’s plan for health care, which retains private health insurance while offering Medicare.

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Tom Tillison

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