Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren pledged Friday not to raise taxes on the middle-class to fund her sprawling, $52 trillion Medicare-for-all plan, after facing mounting pressure from political opponents to flesh out her proposal to overhaul American health care.
"We don't need to raise taxes on the middle class by one penny to finance Medicare-for-all," the Massachusetts senator wrote in the plan, a copy of which was first obtained by FOX News.
In the detailed outline, Warren's campaign said the single-payer health care plan would cost the country "just under" $52 trillion, including $20.5 trillion in new federal spending, over the course of a decade. It would be funded by a combination of existing federal and state spending on Medicare, a slew of new taxes on employers, the financial sector, large corporations and the wealthy, deep cuts to military spending and payments to doctors and comprehensive immigration reform.
It would extend health insurance coverage to every American — and would do so without a middle-class tax hike, the campaign insisted.
Warren, who's emerged as a frontrunner among Democrats after garnering a groundswell of support in early-voting states, has faced a deluge of attacks from her 2020 rivals about how she would fund a government-run health care system, which would essentially eliminate private insurance. She's repeatedly sidestepped questions about whether she'd raise taxes on the middle-class, instead stressing that overall costs would decline by cutting costs like deductibles and premiums.
These are the methods Warren's campaign puts forward to cover the plan's cost:
- An $8.8 trillion total employer Medicare contribution that would replace current employer spending on health care. Warren said companies could end up paying less. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees would be exempt from this requirement, too, if they aren't already paying for employee health care
- Because employees would no longer pay health premiums or co-pays another $1.4 trillion in funding would be generated through taxing that portion of their income which is deducted for premiums before federal tax is calculated.
- Crackdown on tax evasion and fraud, generating about $2.3 trillion in additional federal revenue
- Taxes on the "financial sector, large corporations and the top 1 percent of individuals" to create about $2.9 trillion
- Increased revenue from immigration reform
- Cut defense spending
- Impose a 35 percent tax on American companies' overseas profits and tax foreign companies based on their domestic sales, resulting in an additional $1.65 trillion in revenue
- Hit billionaires with a 6 percent tax on income over $1 billion — up from the currently proposed 3 percent — and tax capital gains income annually, rather than at the time of sale. Combined, those proposals would culminate in $2 trillion
Should Warren get elected next year, the proposal faces a steep path to passage.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, another Democratic frontrunner and frequent critic of Warren, took a swipe at the proposal on Friday, calling it "mathematical gymnastics."
"It's impossible to pay for Medicare-for-all without middle-class tax increases," he said. "Her proposal dramatically understates its cost, overstates its savings, inflates the revenue, and pretends that an employer payroll tax increase is something else."