Elizabeth Warren Shifts, Pushes Medicare for All Plan as ‘Choice’

MANCHESTER, NH - DECEMBER 12: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) gestures as she delivers an economic policy speech on December 12, 2019 in Manchester, New Hampshire. The Iowa Caucuses are less than two months away. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
Scott Eisen/Getty Images

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has switched up her rhetoric on Medicare for All in recent weeks, using the word “choice” while talking about her proposal to move the country onto a single-payer system.

Warren, who has maintained that her costly proposal to move the entire country to Medicare for All will not result in tax hikes for the middle class, has eased up her rhetoric by focusing on the transition and using the word “choice” in a purported attempt to expand its appeal as support for the proposed government overhaul has been dropping.

“For the last two weeks, Warren has described the transition into her Medicare For All plan as a ‘choice’ for Americans to try it,” CNN noted, citing a Fox News poll showing support for Medicare for All falling, even among Democrats. While 54 percent of Democrat primary voters favor a government-run health care system, that is down from 65 percent who supported it in October — an 11 point drop.

Warren took a question from 54-year-old Camille Anderson during a campaign stop in Keokuk, Iowa, on Monday. She asked the presidential hopeful how she would alleviate the concerns of individuals who fear Medicare for All is too expensive and would compromise the quality of their health care.

“Let’s let people try it,” Warren said, alluding to her transition plan:

Find out what it feels like to be making healthcare decisions just between you and your medical professional to get the prescription drugs you need without having to worry about how big the copay is going to be, and whether or not you’re going to be able to get the prescription filled and still have enough money left over to buy groceries this week … When tens of millions of people have had a chance to try that, I believe, at that point, we’re going to be ready to vote for Medicare for everyone.

Bloomberg also noted that Warren has been changing her rhetoric.

“We’re going to push through health care that’s available to everyone,” Warren told voters in Clinton, Iowa, over the weekend “You don’t have to, but it’s your choice, if you want to come in and get full health care coverage.”

Warren released her transition plan in November, which refrains from abolishing private insurance immediately, giving people the semblance of a “choice.” It would come in two faces, the first of which would come as part of a “fast-track budget reconciliation legislation to create a true Medicare for All option that’s free for tens of millions,” per her plan.

According to her plan:

Coverage under the new Medicare for All option will be immediately free for children under the age of 18 and for families making at or below 200% of the federal poverty level (about $51,000 for a family of four). For all others, the cost will be modest, and eventually, coverage under this plan will be free for everyone.

Ultimately, though, the plan would result in the end of private insurance altogether. By her third year in office, Warren would push for legislation that would “complete the transition to full Medicare for All.” She believes that the success of the first portion of the transition will win over Americans across the board:

By this point, the American people will have experienced the full benefits of a true Medicare for All option, and 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. Per the terms of the Medicare for All Act, supplemental private insurance that doesn’t duplicate the benefits of Medicare for All would still be available. But by avoiding duplicative insurance and integrating every American into the new program, the American people would save trillions of dollars on health costs.

“And then when people have a chance to try it, when you’ve had the choice — nobody has to but — when you’ve had the choice and tried full health care coverage, then we’ll vote,” Warren told voters in Washington, Iowa, according to Bloomberg.

“And I believe America is going to say, ‘We like Medicare for All,'” she added.

Warren has confirmed that her plan, which she claims she will pay for by cutting defense spending, taxing the wealthy, and providing a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, will also cover illegal immigrants.

“Medicare for All, as I put this together, covers everyone, regardless of immigration status, and that’s it,” Warren told a crowd in Raleigh, North Carolina, last month:

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