Warren Says She’ll Release a ‘Plan’ to Fund Medicare for All after Dodging the Issue during Debate

Tobias Hoonhout

After facing heavy criticism from fellow candidates during the last Democratic debate for evading questions about funding her Medicare for All proposal, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) announced Sunday at an event in Iowa that she was “getting close” to a funding plan after “working for a long time on this question.”

“I plan over the next few weeks to put out a plan that talks about specifically the cost of Medicare for All, and specifically how we pay for it,” Warren said. “Right now, the cost estimates for Medicare for All vary by trillions and trillions of dollars, and the different revenue streams for how to fund it — there are a lot of them. So this is something I’ve been working for months and months, and it’s got just a little more work until it’s finished.” 

During the fourth Democratic debate on October 19, Warren was chastised by fellow Senator Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.) and South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg for refusing to acknowledge that an increase in middle-class taxes would be required to fund the plan.

When Warren was asked again on Sunday if middle-class taxes would go up under her plan, she deflected, saying, “The whole plan will be out — you’ll be able to look at it.”

Senator Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), who introduced the legislation on the Senate floor in 2017, has not shied away from explaining that middle-class taxes will go up under Medicare for All, assuaging concerns with a pledge that total costs will be less than they are currently. “The tax increase they pay will be substantially less than what they were paying for premiums and out-of-pocket expansions,” Sanders said during the Ohio debate. The original bill does not address how the single-payer system will be funded.

Buttigieg, who last week released an ad claiming that Warren and Sanders were “infringing on freedom” with their Medicare for All proposals, told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday that he thinks Warren is being “evasive” on the issue.

“We need to see how this is going to be paid for,” Buttigieg said. “Right now, whether you copy-paste the Bernie Sanders math or do it some other way, there is a hole amounting to trillions of dollars in how this is supposed to work.”

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