“They can see for themselves how that experience stacks up against high-priced care that requires them to fight tooth-and-nail against their insurance company,” Warren wrote in a Medium post unveiling the plan, echoing more moderate candidates like Mayor Pete Buttigeig who has pushed his own “public option” plan as “a glide path to that Medicare for All.”
Warren’s new plan also answers rivals who contend that already hard-pressed families can’t wait for such a sweeping overhaul to experience relief from health costs. The new set of policies seeks to counter divisions over building on Obamacare’s coverage expansion versus single-payer by declaring that the country could have it all.
But turning Medicare for All into a multi-year legislative exercise could also deepen suspicion of Warren from some on the left who have questioned how dedicated she is to passing a true single-payer health care bill. Asked last week what the first three bills she wants passed as president, Warren cited corruption reform, ending the Senate filibuster and imposing a wealth tax.
But Warren insists passage of single-payer will be made easier by curbing the power of the insurance, hospital and private equity industries that fiercely oppose the plan. In her first 100 days, she said she will put a new tax on lobbying expenditures over half a million dollars, ban lobbyists from donating to political campaigns and ban elected officials and political appointees from becoming lobbyists after they leave government.
“Money slithers through Washington like a snake,” she wrote. “Any candidate that cannot or will not identify this problem, call it out, and pledge to make fixing it a top priority will not succeed in delivering any public expansion of health care coverage — or any other major priority.”
Warren’s policy team moved quickly to release both the transition and a recent financing plans before next week’s Democratic debate. In the October debate, several of Warren’s opponents attacked her for not being forthcoming on how Medicare for All would work.
Medicare for All is likely to again factor prominently in the next debate. Opponents have already signaled that they will keep up the offensive, with several arguing in recent weeks that her financing plan was unrealistic.
And while much of Warren’s new plan depends on a like-minded Congress — a long shot considering many Senate Democrats and candidates oppose Medicare for All — she outlined executive actions she could unilaterally take as president, from direct negotiations with drug companies to making Medicare cover dental services and ordering the Justice Department to defend, not attack, Obamacare against conservative lawsuits.
“I won’t hand Mitch McConnell a veto over my health care agenda,” she said.