Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) would not directly answer at Tuesday night's debate whether her vision of Medicare for All would involve raising taxes on the middle class.
The debate in Detroit got off to a tense start as moderate former Rep. John Delaney (D., Md.) sparred with the top-polling candidates on the stage, Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), over their support for single-payer health care.
Warren shot back that Delaney's criticisms of Medicare for All were "Republican talking points" and tried to tell the story of her friend Ady Barkan, an activist battling ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. Moderator Jake Tapper cut her off to ask whether she would, like Sanders, raise middle-class taxes to pay for a single-payer system.
"Are you also, quote, with Bernie on Medicare for All when it comes to raising taxes on middle-class Americans to pay for it?" Tapper asked.
"So giant corporations and billionaires are going to pay more. Middle-class families are going to pay less out of pocket for their health care," Warren said.
She then returned to talking about her friend battling ALS, leading to chuckles from the audience.
"This isn't funny," she snapped at the crowd. "This is somebody who has health insurance … Every month, he has about $9,000 in medical bills that his insurance company won't cover."
Asked again if she would raise middle-class taxes, Warren sounded like Sanders, who has admitted taxes will be hiked but claimed families would save money because of the net decline in their health care costs.
"Costs will go up for billionaires and go up for corporations. For middle-class families, costs, total costs, will go down," Warren said.
Warren's campaign sent out a release in the middle of the debate calling the current health insurance system unsustainable and reiterating her support for Medicare for All, but it didn't mention anything about taxes.