Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) unveiled her highly anticipated Medicare for All plan on Friday, claiming she will pay for the multitrillion-dollar proposal by repurposing existing costs, increasing taxes on the wealthy, cutting defense spending, and providing a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants.
Political commentators, town hall attendees, and reporters have asked the presidential hopeful, repeatedly, how she would pay for Medicare for All. While Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has openly admitted that the program would cause middle class taxes to increase, Warren has refused to say such, instead pivoting to overall “cost.”
“Costs will go up for the wealthy and for corporations, and for the middle-class families, they will go down,” Warren said during the last debate.
“I will not sign a bill into law that does not lower costs for middle class families,” she added.
Warren officially unveiled her Medicare for All proposal on Friday, declaring that it will not “raise taxes one penny on the middle-class”:
Today, I’m releasing my plan to pay for #MedicareForAll. Here’s the headline: My plan won't raise taxes one penny on middle-class families. In fact, we'll return about $11 TRILLION to the American people. That's bigger than the biggest tax cut in our history. Here's how:
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) November 1, 2019
Warren’s plan, she estimates, would cost “just under $52 trillion” over the next decade, requiring $20.5 trillion in new spending. She claims that her plan will actually result in savings for middle class Americans – $11 trillion – by erasing out-of-pocket expenses. Meanwhile, “targeted spending cuts” and “new taxes on giant corporations and the richest 1% of Americans” will fund the program, she claims.
One of the aspects of her plan requires companies to make payments to the federal government in the form of an “Employer Medicare Contribution.” She argues this would replace what they currently contribute to private insurance companies. Companies with 50 employees or fewer would be exempt.
As the Washington Post explains:
Central to making Warren’s math work is re-purposing the approximately $9 trillion private employers are already projected to spend on health care over the next decade.
Warren’s plan calls for effectively locking these payment levels in place under the Medicare-for-all program, also called a single-payer system, by taxing firms at about the same rate that they currently spend on private insurance.
Warren’s plan states:
If we’re falling short of the $8.8 trillion revenue target for the next ten years, we will make up lost revenue with a Supplemental Employer Medicare Contribution requirement for big companies with extremely high executive compensation and stock buyback rates.
Warren also proposes to “institute a country-by-country minimum tax on foreign earnings of 35% – equal to a restored top corporate tax rate for U.S. firms – without permitting corporations to defer those payments.” Additionally, she takes her “Ultra-Millionaire Tax” further, “asking billionaires to pitch in six cents on each dollar of net worth above $1 billion” instead of three cents.
Warren also proposes a reduction in defense spending and amnesty for illegal aliens as two key sources of revenue to fund her multitrillion-dollar proposal:
I’ve also called to reduce defense spending overall. The Pentagon budget will cost more this year than everything else in the discretionary budget put together. That’s wrong, and it’s unsustainable. We need to identify which programs actually benefit American security in the 21st century, and which programs merely line the pockets of defense contractors – then pull out a sharp knife and make some cuts.
I support immigration reform that’s consistent with our values, including a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and expanded legal immigration consistent with my principles. That’s not only the right thing to do – it also increases federal revenue we can dedicate to Medicare for All as new people come into the system and pay taxes. Based on CBO’s analysis of the 2013 comprehensive immigration reform bill, experts project that immigration reform would generate an additional $400 billion in direct federal revenue.
“I am fighting for #MedicareForAll,” Warren said following her plan’s release. “I have the only detailed plan to pay for it.”
“And we are the only Democratic primary campaign that has laid out the true, full costs of any health care plan, Medicare for All or otherwise,” she continued, challenging others to do the same:
I am fighting for #MedicareForAll. I have the only detailed plan to pay for it. And we are the only Democratic primary campaign that has laid out the true, full costs of any health care plan, Medicare for All or otherwise. I look forward to others doing the same.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) November 1, 2019