Warren: Middle-Class Taxes Won't Go Up 'One Penny' for $52 Trillion Health Care Plan

Presidential Candidate Elizabeth Warren Holds Town Hall In Norfolk, VA
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November 1, 2019

In a long-awaited plan released Friday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) pledged to not raise middle-class taxes to pay for her proposed single-payer health care system.

After months of dodging questions about whether she would hike middle-class taxes to pay for Medicare for All, the 2020 candidate made a firm promise to voters about a $52 trillion system involving $20.5 trillion in new federal spending over the next 10 years.

"We don't need to raise taxes on the middle class by one penny to finance Medicare for All," Warren wrote in a post detailing her proposal.

"As I have said repeatedly, under my Medicare for All plan, costs will go up for the very wealthy and big corporations, and costs will go down for middle-class families," she wrote. "I will not sign a bill that violates these commitments. And as my plan to pay for Medicare for All makes clear, we can meet these commitments without a tax increase on the middle class – and, in fact, without any increase in income taxes at all."

Warren's prior slipperiness on the subject had made her a target of criticism from fellow presidential candidates who do not support eliminating private insurance. South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg (D.) called her "extremely evasive," and former vice president Joe Biden told voters she wasn't being "straightforward" about the tax increases her plan would necessitate.

Instead, Warren claims her plan would be paid for by a variety of tax increases, including a new 6 percent wealth tax on billionaires, directing corporations to pay trillions to the government by redirecting what they would have spent on employer-sponsored health insurance, and a restructured tax on capital gains.

She also promised to cut administrative costs with the elimination of private health care, reduce the country's "unsustainable" level of defense spending, and raise more revenue through immigration reform.

Her $20.5 trillion federal spending estimate is a dramatic scale-down of the left-leaning Urban Institute's estimated $34 trillion cost to the government for Medicare for All. She said the federal government would have "real bargaining power to negotiate lower prices for patients" under the program.

Warren's plan represents what would be the most dramatic transfer of money into the government's hands in the nation's history. The $20.5 trillion figure is equal to roughly one-third of what the government is projected to spend over the next 10 years, the New York Times reported.