Warren takes fire from rivals on cost of 'Medicare for All'

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenJuan Williams: Honesty, homophobia and Mayor Pete Trump DACA fight hits Supreme Court Democrats on edge as Iowa points to chaotic race MORE (D-Mass.) took fire from her Democratic rivals in Tuesday night’s debate over her "Medicare for All" proposal and her refusal to explicitly say whether middle class taxes will increase. 

Warren, who has surged in recent weeks into a leading position in many polls, did not directly answer a question about whether middle class taxes would go up to pay for her Medicare for All plan, reiterating her stance that total costs for the middle class would go down once the elimination of premiums and deductibles is taken into account. 

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But South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegJuan Williams: Honesty, homophobia and Mayor Pete Democrats on edge as Iowa points to chaotic race Democrats debate how to defeat Trump: fight or heal MORE, who is looking to gain ground on his progressive rivals with a plan to allow people the option of private or public insurance, took Warren to task for what he described as “a yes or no question that didn’t get a yes or no answer.”

“Your signature, senator, is to have a plan for everything, except this,” he added, noting that Warren has endorsed Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersJuan Williams: Honesty, homophobia and Mayor Pete Democrats on edge as Iowa points to chaotic race Democrats debate how to defeat Trump: fight or heal MORE’s (I-Vt.) Medicare for All plan instead of developing her own. 

Buttigieg also said Medicare for All would “obliterate private plans.”

Warren shot back with a strong defense of a full-scale Medicare for All plan, deriding Buttigieg’s optional approach as “Medicare for all who can afford it.”

“Medicare for All is the gold standard,” Warren said, adding, “I will not embrace a plan like Medicare for all who can afford it.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharDemocrats debate how to defeat Trump: fight or heal Republicans, Democrats brace for first public testimony in impeachment inquiry Klobuchar: A woman with Buttigieg's experience would not be on presidential debate stage MORE (D-Minn.), a moderate, called Medicare for All a “pipe dream.”

Sanders, the author of Medicare for All, said it is “appropriate to acknowledge that taxes will go up,” in a break from Warren. But he argued that overall costs for the middle class will go down once premiums and deductibles are eliminated.