Medicare What's Buzzing

Senator Warren details strategy for passing Medicare for all

Written by Diane Archer

Senator Elizabeth Warren is doubling down on her plan to guarantee everyone in America good affordable health care. The New York Times reports that Warren has designed a strategy for passing Medicare for All over three years that involves a two-step process. She is seeking support for her plan from pundits like New York Times opinion writer Paul Krugman and policymakers like Representative Pramila Jayapal.

Early on in her career, Elizabeth Warren saw that more Americans were filing for bankruptcy as a result of health conditions that gave rise to medical debt. She recognized that improved Medicare for everyone was the “most obvious” way to prevent these bankruptcies. But, until recently, she did not think it was practical.

Now, she has designed a plan to pay for Medicare for All almost exclusively through employer contributions and taxes on the wealthiest Americans and corporations.

Some Democratic presidential candidates who do not support Medicare for all argue that Warren’s policy is not viable because the public does not accept it. But, Warren and Sanders remain two of the top Democratic presidential candidates in the polls, even though they are ardent advocates of Medicare for All.

Senator Warren, like Senator Sanders, appreciates that she needs to advocate for what she believe to be the best policies. It makes no sense to advocate for policies because you think the public will support them if you don’t think they will deliver what is needed, in this case, guaranteed access to affordable health care. As Warren says,  “You don’t get what you don’t fight for.”

Unlike Senator Sanders, Warren appears to believe the pragmatic approach is to enact Medicare for All in two phases. In phase one of her health care reform strategy, she supports giving Medicare for All for free to children from birth to 18 and to all individuals earning less than twice the federal poverty rate. And, she supports giving people over 50 the choice to buy into it.  By year three of her presidency, Warren plans to have Congress pass Medicare for All for everyone. In her first 100 days, Warren also will push campaign finance reform, to get money out of politics.

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