Democrats take swing at Elizabeth Warren for vagueness on Medicare-for-all

During the first three Democratic presidential debates, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren repeatedly sidestepped questions about how, if she were elected, she would pay for Medicare-for-all.

“Middle-class families are going to pay less,” Warren said in mid-September, when asked whether middle-class taxes would rise in order to shift toward a single-payer system. “Costs are going to go up for wealthier individuals and giant corporations.”

Now, in the lead-up to the fourth Democratic debate outside of Columbus, Ohio, some of Warren’s 2020 rivals, on both the left and the right, are eyeing health care as a way to criticize her candidacy.

Unlike some of her top opponents, including independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden, Warren has not unveiled a signature health care plan, instead hedging that she’s “with Bernie” on Medicare-for-all.

Warren’s campaign did not respond to a FOX Business request for comment.

In April, Sanders introduced an updated version of his Medicare-for-all proposal to expand the government-run program to all Americans, not just those over 65. He recently admitted doing so would increase taxes on middle-class Americans, though he stressed the bill would lower overall costs by eliminating co-pays, deductibles and insurance premiums. (For instance, he said a family paying $20,000 for private insurance would see that obligation eliminated, but would have to pay about $10,000 in taxes).

“I think you should be straightforward about what your plan is going to do,” South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg said in a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal. “And we haven’t seen that.”

Buttigieg reiterated his attack on Tuesday in a new advertisement, noting that 160 million Americans still get their insurance from their employer — and some are skeptical about shifting toward government-mandated health care.

“Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren believe that we have to force ourselves into Medicare for all, where private insurance is abolished,” the ad says.

But Warren has also weathered attacks from the left, with some worrying why the candidate “with a plan” has yet to release substantial legislation on health care.

During a recent town hall in New Hampshire, Warren called Medicare-for-all a “framework” prompting criticism from the Sanders campaign.

“#MedicareForAll isn't a framework,” Sanders’ senior adviser Warren Gunnels tweeted in response. “It's a 100-page bill. There have been 2 white papers released on how to finance it & a 200-page study from UMass showing our financing options more than cover the expense, while costing middle class families 14% less than the current system.”

(When asked by reporters about her comments, she said “framework” was in direct reference to a specific provision regarding people with disabilities, the Journal reported. “I strongly support Medicare for All,” she said. “[It’s the] cheapest way for us to make sure that we get everyone covered at the lowest possible cost.”

In the most recent debate, Warren clashed with Biden over health care, with the former vice president warning that Medicare-for-all is too costly and too challenging to pay for.

“Those at the very top, the richest individuals and corporations, are going to pay more,” she said in response. “And middle-class families are going to pay less. That’s how this is going to work.”