Warren: Time to 'go on offense' on health care

Warren: Time to 'go on offense' on health care
© Greg Nash

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenIdentity politics and the race for the Democratic nomination O'Rourke’s strategy: Show Americans the real Beto 2020 Democrats barnstorm the country for MLK weekend MORE (D-Mass.) on Thursday said it was time to go on “offense” on health care after a year of defending ObamaCare against repeal efforts.

In a speech to a conference hosted by Families USA, a leading liberal health-care advocacy group, Warren laid out a range of ways to build on the Affordable Care Act, and attacked health insurance companies for how they treat consumers.

“We need to do more than play defense,” said Warren, 68, a possible 2020 Democratic presidential contender. “I believe it is time for us to go on offense.”

“I endorsed [Sen.] Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersIdentity politics and the race for the Democratic nomination 2020 Democrats barnstorm the country for MLK weekend Bill Maher defends Bernie Sanders campaign over sexual harassment allegations MORE’s [I-Vt.] 'Medicare for all'” bill, Warren said, but she did not focus on single-payer.

She pointed to other options for expanding ObamaCare as well, such as creating a public health insurance option, or allowing people to buy into Medicaid, as Sen. Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzDemocrats signal they'll reject Trump shutdown proposal Trump expected to pitch immigration deal to end funding stalemate Dem senators debate whether to retweet Cardi B video criticizing Trump over shutdown MORE (D-Hawaii) has proposed.

“I am glad to see us put a lot of different options on the table,” she said.

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After a year where Democrats and health insurance companies were often aligned in fighting Republican ObamaCare repeal efforts, Warren attacked insurance companies in sharp terms.

“For too long giant insurance companies have pretty much run the show,” she said.

Speaking of ObamaCare, she said: “We need to build on that progress and do more to hold America’s insurance companies accountable.”

She laid out a range of new steps the government could take to regulate insurers, such as putting new restrictions on premium increases or narrow networks that do not cover care from many doctors.

In an effort to stop financial losses on the ObamaCare marketplaces and reach sustainable levels, many insurers have restricted their doctor networks and raised premiums.

“I am in this fight all the way,” Warren said.