2020 Democratic presidential contender Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has done everything she can to avoid telling voters the obvious truth: That their taxes will rise into the stratosphere if she is successful in implementing her Medicare-for-All healthcare plan. Instead of being honest about this simple fact, Warren has gone to great lengths to avoid talking about taxes at all. She prefers to use the word “costs,” insisting that any bill she would support would not increase costs for the middle class.
But there’s more than one type of “costs,” and even if Warren is right about household costs resulting from Medicare-for-All (which she isn’t), she isn’t factoring in the other devastating effects that her healthcare plan will have on the country’s economy.
One such effect was outlined by Robert Pollin, an economist with the University of Massachusetts. In an interview with Kaiser Health News this year, Pollin predicted that Medicare-for-All would decimate the healthcare industry and cost America nearly two million jobs in hospitals, doctor’s offices, and private insurance companies.
Warren, asked about those remarks by New Hampshire Public Radio on Wednesday, did not try to deny the economist’s predictions.
“I agree,” Warren said of the outlook. “I think this is part of the cost issue and should be part of a cost plan. Although do recognize on this what we’re talking about, and that is in effect, how much of our health care dollars have not gone to health care?”
Ah. So her answer is…those jobs shouldn’t exist, anyway? That’s a campaign strategy we haven’t seen before.
While her rival for the nomination, Bernie Sanders, has gotten some credit for admitting that taxes will go up for “virtually everyone” if he is able to pass his plan, he revealed in an interview with CNBC that there are some costs that he’s also not willing (or not able) to discuss right now. Host John Harwood pointed out to Sanders that he’s only identified revenue sources to pay for about half the expected cost of MFA.
“You still have more revenue to go to make it fully paid for, yes?” Harwood asked.
“The fight right now is to get the American people to understand that we’re spending twice as much per capita, that of course, we can pay for it. We’re paying it now in a very reactionary, regressive way. I want to pay for it in a progressive way,” Sanders replied. “You’re asking me to come up with an exact detailed plan of how every American — how much you’re going to pay more in taxes, how much I’m going to pay. I don’t think I have to do that right now.”
So it looks like we have to elect Sanders and/or Warren and then pass Medicare-for-All before we find out how we’re going to be paying for it. Cool story.
Good luck with that, guys.