Former Vice President and presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is expected to announce his running mate soon, and competition for the slot is heating up, particularly among female former contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is still in the running, according to behind-the-scenes reports, and she’s made major shifts in her policy agenda since concluding her presidential campaign. Last week, she officially abandoned her support for a socialist, “Medicare for All” health care plan — something she and Biden had tangled over in early Democratic debates.
Speaking to the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago, Warren said she is now more inclined to revising the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” than overhauling the American health care system into a fully single-payer operation, according to Politico.
“I think right now people want to see improvements in our health care system, and that means strengthening the Affordable Care Act,” she told students in a virtual lecture.
That’s a major pivot for the Massachusetts senator, who once made “Medicare for All” a hallmark of her presidential platform — a hallmark so important to her that she accused Biden of “running in the wrong presidential primary” when he refused to admit a “Medicare for All”-style overhaul was necessary to fix the ailing American healthcare system.
In a later interview, Warren said she “wasn’t sure” where Biden was “going” when he asked her whether Medicare for All would require an across-the-board tax hike, including on middle class families.
Biden, for his part, is a strong defender of Obamacare, something he considers to be a major Obama administration achievement. When confronting Warren over his and former President Obama’s health care policy, he called her approach to replacing Obamacare, “angry,” “elitist,” “condescending” per Politico.
Now, Warren is trying to smooth over the divide, likely because Biden is about to select a running mate, and she’s still technically available.
“Warren’s policy-centered, team-player pitch is counting on Biden caring more about Jan. 20 than Nov. 3, when he makes his vice presidential pick,” the outlet reported Thursday. “In other words, that the current crisis has elevated governing concerns above political ones — and that the times call for someone with her policy chops and, yes, plans.”
She’s also issued a number of policy outlines, including a full coronavirus response document, and she’s said to be working closely with Biden’s own policy teams on his presidential platform.
She is up against stiff competition, however. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) is also angling for the job, as is Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who proudly announced, earlier this week, that she’d begun preliminary conversations with Biden over the Veep slot. Georgia’s Democratic minority leader Stacey Abrams and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) are also said to still be in the running.
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