Warren says she’ll release ‘plan’ to pay for Medicare for All

By Alex Thompson

Days after 2020 rivals accused her of not being candid on how she would pay for “Medicare for All,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren told a crowd at a town hall that she would be rolling out a plan “over the next few weeks” detailing how she would pay for the plan.

“Right now the cost estimates for Medicare for All vary by trillions and trillions of dollars and the different revenue stream for how to fund it, there are a lot of,” the Massachusetts Democrat told a crowd in Indianola, Iowa, on Sunday. “This is something I’ve been working on for months and months, and it’s got just a little more work until it’s finished.”

It is just the latest in a series of moves Warren has made to clarify her position on health care during the presidential campaign. While she co-sponsored Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All bill in 2017, Warren was more equivocal on her health care priorities in the opening months of the race until June, when she began saying: “I’m with Bernie on Medicare for All.”

The Warren campaign has also been mostly silent in response to questions on whether it would be releasing its own health care plan distinct from the bill Sanders authored. Sanders, long a champion of a government guaranteed health care system, has said he plans to raise taxes, including on the middle class, to pay for his plan. “The overwhelming majority of people will save money on their health care bills,” he said at last week’s debate in Westerville, Ohio. “But I do think it is appropriate to acknowledge that taxes will go up.”

Warren has not made such an acknowledgment, arguing that the framing of the question ignores that overall costs for the middle class will go down as they do not have to pay for premiums. “I will not sign a bill into law that does not lower costs for middle-class families,” she said at the debate.

Democratic presidential rivals such as former Vice President Joe Biden, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar have been especially critical of Warren’s answers as she has risen in the polls, taking direct aim at her in the recent debate and in the days afterward.

“At least Bernie's being honest here and saying how he's going to pay for this and that taxes are going to go up,” Klobuchar said at the debate. “And I'm sorry Elizabeth, but you have not said that, and I think we owe it to the American people to tell them where we're going to send the invoice.”

After Warren announced that a plan for funding was coming soon, Biden’s campaign signaled that the feud was far from over. “It's mystifying that for someone who has put having a plan for everything at the center of her pitch to voters, Senator Warren has decided to release a health care plan only after enduring immense public pressure for refusing to do so,” said TJ Ducklo, the Biden campaign’s national press secretary.

“We hope her plan will be straight with the American people about how much middle class taxes will go up to pay for the $30+ trillion it will take to fund Medicare for All.”

Alice Ollstein contributed to this report