Like her opponent Bernie Sanders, Medicare for All is one of the most prominent campaign issues for Senator Elizabeth Warren. However, unlike the Vermont senator, she can’t seem to answer simple questions about the policy that would forever change the healthcare system in the United States.
On Thursday, Warren was asked by NBC News’ Ali Vitali if Medicare for All would end up raising taxes for middle-class American families. It’s a simple yes or no question and one Sanders has always been able to answer without hesitation. Therefore, you would think that Warren would also be able to do so, especially since their plans for healthcare change are almost identical.
And yet, she skirted the issue instead, telling Vitali that what Americans really care about is overall “costs.”
Vitali asked, “So one of the things that a few of your opponents were talking about late last week really was this idea of middle-class taxes in healthcare. So yes or no – should middle-class Americans expect their taxes to go up under a Medicare for All system?”
To which Warren replied, “You may remember that I’ve spent a big chunk of my life studying why middle-class families go broke, and one of the number one reasons is healthcare.” And she continued saying, “The problem is its total cost for these families, so it’s what you pay in premiums. It’s also what you pay co-pays to see a doctor, or sorry that doctor is out of network, so you’ve got to pay for the whole thing.”
She said that because of these high overall costs, we need to change the entire system. She said, “People keep reaching into their pockets and reaching into their pockets even when they have health insurance, so how we have to think about this system is yes, we should expect that for giant corporations and very wealthy individuals, costs will go up, but for middle-class families – for hardworking people – the costs are going to go down.”
But as Vitali was quick to point out, “that’s not the same as taxes not going up.”
And she is right. What Warren and Sanders are proposing is a total rehaul on the healthcare system that would ensure that everyone is given “affordable” health insurance. And according to both senators, costs for the average American will be less than what they are now.
But what Vitali and so many other Americans are asking is not what the cost for healthcare will be, but if taxes will be raised for everyday citizens to pay for that cheaper healthcare.
Obviously, when you have any type of extensive government-run program, whether it is healthcare, education, housing, etc., there are costs involved with implementing those. Someone has to pay for those. And for a government that is already in so much debt, it merely isn’t feasible to spend more when we don’t have it.
The solution, for Sanders and Warren, is to raise taxes for certain people, corporations, and entities within the country. For example, both Warren and Sanders have proposed a wealth tax that would take more from very wealthy individuals and households.
However, there are earnest questions about it being enough. And if it isn’t, there is a good likelihood everyone in the nation will have to chip in to pay for it.
Warren can’t seem to say whether these taxes will be raised or not. Instead, she says, “What matters to families most is costs.”
“What we’re talking about here is what’s going to happen in families’ pockets, what’s going to happen in their budgets, and the answer is, on Medicare for All, costs are going to go up for wealthier individuals and costs are going to go up for giant corporations. But for hardworking families across this country costs are going to go down, and that’s how it should work under Medicare for All.”
And this isn’t the first time she has dodged the question, and others are taking notice.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg says, “Warren…was extremely evasive when asked that question, and we’ve seen that repeatedly. I think that if you are proud of your plan and it’s the right plan, you should defend it in straightforward terms.”
And he added that everyone already knows the answer so why wouldn’t you “say so and then explain why you think that’s the better way,” like Sanders has.
Why, indeed? Is she hiding something else besides her questionable Native American heritage?