Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is abandoning a key element of her platform — her ambitious, expansive Medicare expansion — as her poll numbers tumble in key early primary states.
The Massachusetts Senator, who once touted herself as a “wonk,” has been under fire for her Medicare for All plan from both the right and the left for the last several weeks, after she claimed, in a town hall in Iowa, that she wouldn’t have to raise taxes on the middle class to pay for what amounts to a universal health care system more similar to nationwide Medicaid than “Medicare.”
Unlike her fellow progressive, Sanders, Warren refused to admit that her “wealth tax” and her “two cent tax” would pay for the program, even though experts say her proposed tax hikes would barely cover her student loan bailout, let alone her proposed vast expansion of the Federal government. Sanders is clear that the middle class and working class would pay more in taxes to receive Medicare for All but that the hike would be far less than what the same taxpayers currently pay for private health insurance.
“After pushing the swift creation of a government-run health care system that would cover all Americans and eliminate private insurance, Warren is now emphasizing her calls for a transition period that would make it optional for most of her first term in office,” Bloomberg reports.
And it won’t be mandatory, she now says. If you like your health insurance plan, you can keep your health insurance plan.
“We’re going to push through health care that’s available to everyone,” Warren told an audience in Iowa over the weekend. “You don’t have to, but it’s your choice, if you want to come in and get full health care coverage.”
She’s convinced that Medicare for All will be so popular, no one will chose a private plan.
“And then when people have a chance to try it, when you’ve had the choice — nobody has to but — when you’ve had the choice and tried full health care coverage, then we’ll vote,” Warren added in a separate speech. “And I believe America is going to say, ‘We like Medicare for All.’”
She’s not giving up on Medicare for All because she wants to, though. While the program remains popular with progressives, who would just as soon replace the entire American health care system with a publicly funded, government operated one. Even the Affordable Care Act, which was supposed to be the very “transitional” product Warren wants, is not enough for most progressives. One Texas Democrat even got in trouble on Twitter earlier this week for wishing cancer on former President Barack Obama because of Obama’s failure to enact a public option.
But Medicare for All isn’t popular nationally. It certainly isn’t popular with moderates and independents. And it definitely isn’t popular in battleground states. The Democrats know this — after all, they ran, in 2018, in many key districts, on “preserving” the Affordable Care Act from Trump Administration changes. And Warren needs those districts now more than ever, as her poll numbers have plummeted more than 10 points since mid-October, leaving her grasping for early wins.