Speaking with an interviewer from New Hampshire Public Radio on Wednesday, Democratic presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who has been pushing for Medicare-for-All, admitted that she agreed with a University of Massachusetts economist who surmised that implementing such a system would cause a tremendous loss of jobs.
The exchange started with Casey McDermott of NHPR asking Warren regarding Medicare-for-All: “Where’s the money going to come from?”
Warren dodged the question, answering, “So, I’m working on a plan on that and it’s going to be out soon. And it’ll talk about two things: both how much Medicare for All will cost, and how we can pay for it. So, it’s hard; it’s something I’ve been working on for a long time but I’ll have a plan on it soon.”
McDermott quoted a questioner asking, “Will my taxes go up under Medicare for All?”
Let me put it this way; I have spent a big part of my life studying why families go broke. And one of the principal reasons is the cost of health care. Back when I was studying about two out of every three families that filed for bankruptcy did do following a serious medical problem and here’s the thing: about two out of three of them had health insurance at the onset of the illness or accident. In other words, people who have health insurance are still not covered but the costs brought them down.
So here’s how I think of this: we know that Medicare for All is the cheapest way to provide health care coverage for everyone, so we can pay for this. You will see, most likely, rich people’s costs go up; corporations’ costs go up, but the costs to middle class families will go down. I will not sign any legislation into law for which costs for middle class families do not go down. I’ve spent my life fighting for families who are on the edge of going broke, and we need to change that in this country, and one part of that is we’ve got to reduce the cost of the cost of health care.
Fox News noted, “A bipartisan study indicates it will be impossible to finance Warren’s plan using only taxes on the wealthiest Americans.”
McDermott then targeted the issue of jobs lost:
Regardless of what kind of money is involved, Medicare for All would likely result in a pretty significant kind of shift in how our health care system is structured. Even supporters of that approach within the health policy world have said that that likely would mean lost jobs in some form.
An economist with the University of Massachusetts-Amherst (Robert Pollin of UMass’ Political Economy Research Institute) told Kaiser Health News earlier this year that that could result in about two million jobs lost. He said that would be mostly administrative positions and insurers, doctors’ offices, and he said that politicians who want to move toward that system, Medicare for All, have to think about what a “just transition, a fair transition” would look like. What would that look like for you?
Warren admitted, “So I agree. I think this is part of the cost issue and should be part of a cost plan. Although do recognize on this what we’re talking about, and that is in effect how much of our health care dollars have not gone to health care, how many of those dollars have been pulled out in other directions.”