Warren Dodges on Middle-Class Tax Hike to Pay for Medicare for All

2020 candidate claims overall 'costs' will decrease for middle class

September 18, 2019

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) dodged a question Tuesday about whether her Medicare for All proposal would hike taxes on middle-class families.

On The Late Show, liberal host Stephen Colbert drilled down on the 2020 candidate's universal health care plan, which would eliminate private health insurance policies.

"You keep being asked in the debates how are you going to pay for it, are you going to raise the middle-class taxes," Colbert said, before adding, "How are you going to pay for it? Are you going to raise the middle-class taxes?"

"So, here's how we're going to do this," Warren said. "Costs are going to go up for the wealthiest Americans, for big corporations ... and hard-working middle-class families are going to see their costs go down."

"But will their taxes go up?" Colbert asked.

"But, here's the thing," Warren said.

"But, here's the thing," Colbert cut in. "I've listened to these answers a few times before, and I just want to make a parallel suggestion for you about how you might defend the taxes that perhaps you're not mentioning in your sentence."

Colbert then compared Medicare for All to public schools in his pitch to voters, saying it would be worth the added costs to save fellow citizens from dying.

"I accept your point, and I believe in your point," Warren said. "Health care is a basic human right. We fight for basic human rights, and that's Medicare for All. Everyone gets covered."

Warren shifted to discussing her career studying why families go bankrupt, saying it's often due to health care costs, even for the insured.

At last week's ABC News debate, Warren gave the same answer when pressed by anchor George Stephanopoulos on the topic. He noted Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) had been candid about his Medicare for All proposal raising taxes on middle-class families, although he claimed it would be more than offset by their reduced health care costs.

Warren praised President Barack Obama for leading the passage of the Affordable Care Act before saying the best way to improve it was ensuring universal coverage.

"And I believe the best way we can do that is we make sure that everybody gets covered by health care at the lowest possible cost," she said. "How do we pay for it? We pay for it, those at the very top, the richest individuals and the biggest corporations, are going to pay more. And middle-class families are going to pay less. That's how this is going to work."

"Direct question," Stephanopoulos said. "You said middle-class families are going to pay less. But will middle-class taxes go up to ... pay for the program? I know you believe that the deductibles and the premiums will go down. Will middle-class taxes go up? Will private insurance be eliminated?"

"Look, what families have to deal with is cost, total cost," Warren said. "That's what they have to deal with ... Families are paying every time they don't get a prescription filled because they can't pay for it. They don't have a lump checked out because they can't afford the co-pay."

"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," Warren added. "But for hard-working families across this country, costs are going to go down and that's how it should work under Medicare for All in our health care system."