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

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOn The Money: Biden .5T budget proposes major hike in social programs | GOP bashes border, policing provisions Overnight Defense: Biden proposes 3B defense budget | Criticism comes in from left and right | Pentagon moves toward new screening for extremists POW/MIA flag moved back atop White House 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. 

But South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegBiden to meet Monday with bipartisan lawmakers about infrastructure Jill Biden gives shout out to Champ, Major on National Pet Day Buttigieg on exaggerated infrastructure jobs estimate: 'I should have been more precise' 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 SandersBiden's policies are playing into Trump's hands Hillicon Valley: Amazon wins union election — says 'our employees made the choice' On The Money: Biden .5T budget proposes major hike in social programs | GOP bashes border, policing provisions 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 KlobucharLobbying world New small business coalition to urge action on antitrust policy Bottom line 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.