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

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenDemocrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks What's behind the divisions over Biden's secretary of Labor? Alito to far-right litigants: The buffet is open 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 ButtigiegButtigieg: Denying Biden intelligence briefings is about protecting Trump's 'ego' Biden's win is not a policy mandate — he should govern accordingly Pavlich: Hollow calls for unity 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 SandersDemocrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks What's behind the divisions over Biden's secretary of Labor? Young voters set turnout record, aiding Biden win 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 KlobucharFormer Minnesota Democratic leader quits party Top cybersecurity official ousted by Trump Lawmakers question tech CEOs about content moderation in first post-election hearing 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.