South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg criticized his Democratic Party presidential challenger, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), on Wednesday for not being candid with the American people about how she intends to pay for her proposed “Medicare for All” plan.
“I have a lot of respect for Senator Warren, but last night she was more specific and forthcoming about the number of selfies she’s taken than about how this plan is going to be funded,” Buttigieg told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota. “That’s a real problem, especially when there’s a better way to deliver health care coverage to everybody.”
Warren, who has been battling Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for the progressive lane to the Democratic presidential nomination, has been running on a platform of enacting a single-payer health insurance plan that would abolish the private insurance market and subsequently force roughly 150 million Americans who are currently enrolled in private insurance plans to switch to a government-run program.
"Last night, she was more specific and forthcoming about the number of selfies she's taken than about how this plan is going to be funded," says Mayor @PeteButtigieg on Sen. Elizabeth Warren's refusal to answer how she would fund "Medicare For All."https://t.co/0bMsul8X00 pic.twitter.com/zWSHVRmBkK
— New Day (@NewDay) October 16, 2019
While Warren has yet to introduce her own version of “Medicare for All,” she has endorsed a plan that Sanders introduced in the Senate while running for president in 2016.
Although his campaign predicted that the proposal would cost taxpayers about $14 trillion over the next decade, most other estimates are significantly higher. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget forecast Sanders’ health care plan alone as costing $28 trillion during the first 10 years, which is in the range of other estimates.
Sanders has generally been forthright about the tax hikes that Americans will face in order to pay for a “Medicare for All” plan. Instead, he argues that the net benefit of lower out-of-pocket costs outweighs the rise in taxes. Warren, on the other hand, has repeatedly dodged questions about any impending tax increases.
“Look, this is why people here in the midwest are so frustrated with Washington in general and Capitol Hill in particular,” Buttigieg told Warren during the Democratic National Committee’s primary debate on Tuesday. “Your signature, senator, is to have a plan for everything — except this. No plan has been laid out to explain how a multi-trillion dollar hole in this ‘Medicare for All’ plan that Senator Warren is putting forward is supposed to get filled in.”
Buttigieg’s remarks come only days after he introduced a new campaign advertisement that takes a shot at “Medicare for All” proponents. The ad, titled “Makes More Sense,” specifically calls out both Warren and Sanders by name and escalates a division in their policy prescriptions. The timing of the ad release foreshadowed the clash that seemingly occurred during the debate.
“What most Americans want is to have an opportunity to walk away from their private plan, to have that, what I call ‘Medicare for All Who Want It’ alternative, but also to be able to keep their private plan if they would prefer,” Buttigieg continued to Camerota. “And I think that’s the right answer, especially when you do the math and realize it is also an answer that is paid for, unlike the ‘Medicare for All,’ whether you want it or not plans, that still have this giant question mark over how it’s supposes to work.”