Elizabeth Warren is being fundamentally dishonest about Medicare for All. Not just vague. Not just evasive. Not just dodgy. Dishonest.
At last night's Democratic primary debate, Warren repeatedly refused to admit something that is obviously true: that Medicare for All, the single-payer health care plan envisioned by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.) that Warren says she supports, would require higher taxes on most Americans, including the middle class.
We know that this is true because the plan would, according to multiple independent estimates as well as Sanders himself, cost somewhere in the range of $30 or $40 trillion over a decade. (A new estimate of the type of plan that Warren and Sanders support puts the cost at just a hair over $34 trillion.) the That's $30 or $40 trillion in new government spending, on top of the federal spending that would have occurred otherwise. And as Sanders—who likes to remind people that he "wrote the damn bill"—has said on many occasions, that means higher taxes. Sanders has not proposed tax revenues that are sufficient to cover the cost of his plan. But he has, at least, been clear that higher taxes are part of the deal.
Warren, pushed at last night's debate to acknowledge what even Sanders admits, declined. Instead, despite attacks from rival candidates Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D–Minn.), and former Vice President Joe Biden, she stuck firmly to a canned talking point about "costs."
"We can pay for this," she said at one point. "I've laid out the basic principles. Costs are going to go up for the wealthy. They're going to go up for big corporations. They will not go up for middle-class families."
Warren's answer isn't just designed to avoid answering the question; it is designed to mislead.