(CN) - Unveiling her much-anticipated Medicare for All proposal on Friday, Senator Elizabeth Warren called health care a human right and promised she would not raise taxes on the middle class by even a penny to enact the plan.
The proposal specifies two “nonnegotiables” for Warren in health care: No American should ever die or go bankrupt because of health care costs, and all Americans should be able to see whatever doctor they need to.
“No more GoFundMe campaigns to pay for care,” Warren wrote. “No more rationing insulin. No more choosing between medicine and groceries. … No for-profit insurance company should be able to stop anyone from seeing the expert or getting the treatment they need.”
Warren calculated that today’s health care system is on track to cost the country $52 trillion over the next decade, while failing to cover everyone and leaving gaps in coverage and cost that families have to fill — $11 trillion in costs for which individuals will be responsible, to be exact.
By Warren’s calculations, Medicare for All would cost just under $52 trillion over the same period, while providing coverage for everyone, at any doctor they want to see. She also emphasized that the average family of four insured by their employer spent more than $12,000 per year in 2018 on premiums and out-of-pocket costs.
In the Senate, Warren co-sponsored the Medicare for All Act written by rival candidate Bernie Sanders. The proposal today describes how Warren would implement the law as president.
Warren has faced criticism for failing to explain how she would fund her health care plan. At a debate last month, she refused to answer the financing question. This plan seems to be that answer.
In addition to tapping the rich, Wall Street and the Pentagon, Warren said she would crack down on tax fraud and tax havens, which would bring in $2.3 trillion alone.
A tiny tax on some financial transactions like stock sales, as small as one-tenth of 1%, would generate $800 billion over the next decade, Warren added. She said she’d also charge a fee on big banks and use her now-famous “2 cent tax” on the ultra-rich, which could ultimately rake in an extra $1 trillion.
The Week calculated that billionaire Jeff Bezos, whose net worth is over $111 billion, would fork over $7 billion under Warren’s new tax.
A Warren presidency would also look to immigration and defense-spending reform to help pay for health care.
“The Pentagon budget will cost more this year than everything else in the discretionary budget put together,” Warren wrote. “That’s wrong, and it’s unsustainable.”
Warren noted that one of her most important tasks in selling Medicare for All to the American public is by explaining how to pay for it.
While the Democratic candidates are in general consensus about needing to shift to a new health care system, they disagree on how best to do it. On Friday, Warren issued a direct challenge to her competitors: If you think your own ideas are better, release a plan that’s better than this one.
Warren’s plan would cover everything, she pledged: long-term care, medical, audio, vision and dental.
“My plan will cover every single person in the U.S., and includes common-sense payment reforms that make Medicare for All possible without spending any more money overall than we spend now,” she wrote.
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