MSNBC Host Grills Warren on Tax Hike Dodge

Sanders has acknowledged his plan would require higher taxes

MSNBC host Chris Matthews grilled Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) after Tuesday's Democratic presidential debate about her dodging the question of whether her proposed health care overhaul required tax hikes.

Warren repeatedly tried to make the argument that overall costs would decrease, but Matthews pressed for a clear answer as to whether taxes would need to be raised.

"If you have Medicare for life or government health insurance, you'll have to have more benefits and Bernie's talking about the eyeglasses, hearing aids, everything. There will have to be more money or your pay will go up. You guys dodged that tonight," Matthews said.

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"No, no. It's not a dodge," Warren replied.

"Jake Tapper kept saying how much of your taxes are going to go up and you said—" Matthews said.

"How much are your costs going to go down," Warren interjected.

"Different question. How much will your taxes go up—," Matthews responded.

"No, it's how much of your costs because it's how much families end up spending," Warren insisted.

Matthews said he understood Warren's argument that, overall, healthcare costs would decrease by reducing premiums, but kept pressing on whether taxes would have to be raised.

Warren then pivoted to talking about families suffering from high medical bills even with health insurance.

"I spent most of my life studying families that went broke, and a huge chunk of them went broke because of high medical bills and many of them had health insurance. So the question is not do you have health insurance or not health insurance. The question is how much are you going to have to dig in your pocket to pay," Warren said.

The discussion ended with Matthews unsuccessfully trying twice more to get an answer on the tax question.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), whose Medicare for All plan would cost an estimated $40 trillion over ten years, has said he would raise taxes, including for the middle class, to pay for Medicare for All.

Most Americans oppose Medicare for All if it would eliminate private health insurance or require higher taxes.

Warren and Sanders are jockeying for the second-place spot behind former vice president Joe Biden in national Democratic primary surveys.