Warren on Job Losses Under Medicare for All: ‘No One Gets Left Behind’

Says some will work in car or life insurance

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) said Friday that her proposed Medicare for All program would not result in job losses.

"No one gets left behind," Warren told reporters in Iowa.

Warren's sweeping health care plan takes direct aim at the health insurance industry, which employed more than 800,000 people as of 2017. Warren has derided the industry as being concerned with profits above all else, and her Medicare for All plan would eliminate private insurance.

"If you've had a chance to read the plan, you'll see no one gets left behind," Warren said. "Some of the people currently working in health insurance will work in other parts of insurance, in life insurance, in auto insurance, in car insurance. Some will work for Medicaid."

Warren released her Medicare for All program Friday, but didn't include details about how workers in private health insurance would move to other industries. She wrote that her "transition plan," meant to address those and other concerns, will be released in the coming weeks. 

Warren's comments follow her acknowledgment on Wednesday of economist Robert Pollin's assessment that Medicare for All would kill two million jobs, "about half on the insurers' side and half employed in hospitals and doctors' offices." Pollin told Kaiser Health News politicians in favor of Medicare for All needed to think about how a "just transition" would look.

"So I agree," Warren said about Pollin's remarks. "I think this is part of the cost issue and should be part of a cost plan."

After being pressed by her Democratic primary opponents for specifics on how she would pay for her plan, Warren released a $52 trillion proposal Friday that included $20.5 trillion in new federal spending over the next decade. She promised she would not raise middle-class taxes by a "penny."

Former vice president Joe Biden, who favors expanding Obamacare and keeping private insurance, said through a spokeswoman that Warren's plan involved "mathematical gymnastics."