Biden hits Warren over 'Medicare for All' plan

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenLifting our voices — and votes Longtime Democratic pollster: Warren 'obvious solution' for Biden's VP pick Biden will help close out Texas Democrats' virtual convention: report MORE’s campaign hit Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenLongtime Democratic pollster: Warren 'obvious solution' for Biden's VP pick The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - US virus deaths exceed 100,000; Pelosi pulls FISA bill Warren's VP bid faces obstacle: Her state's Republican governor MORE (D-Mass.) over her new "Medicare for All" plan on Friday, saying it really would result in a middle-class tax increase despite Warren’s claims. 

“For months, Elizabeth Warren has refused to say if her health care plan would raise taxes on the middle class, and now we know why: because it does,” said Biden deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield. “Senator Warren would place a new tax of nearly $9 trillion that will fall on American workers.”

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Warren on Friday released a plan for how to pay for Medicare for All that would not include any direct tax increases on the middle class. Warren has been under pressure from rivals including Biden to explain how she would cover the large cost of her plan. 

Medicare for All has been one of the major dividing lines between progressives such as Warren and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden will help close out Texas Democrats' virtual convention: report Senate Dems press DOJ over coronavirus safety precautions in juvenile detention centers Gabbard drops defamation lawsuit against Clinton MORE (I-Vt.) and more moderate candidates like Biden and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegBiden hopes to pick VP by Aug. 1 It's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process Here's how Biden can win over the minority vote and the Rust Belt MORE

Biden kept up the criticism on Friday, saying that a new roughly $9 trillion tax on employers in Warren’s plan would be passed on to workers. 

Warren’s plan argues that tax is just matching what employers are already paying for their workers’ health insurance in the form of premiums, and that it would actually slightly reduce employers’ costs. Economists also say that workers face lower wages under the current system because of the costs employers have to pour into health insurance instead. 

More broadly, Biden’s campaign called Warren’s plan unrealistic, and noted that it would eliminate people’s current private health insurance. 

“There’s no two ways about it, we cannot defeat Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump marks 'very sad milestone' of 100K coronavirus deaths DOJ: George Floyd death investigation a 'top priority' Lifting our voices — and votes MORE with double talk on health care — especially not about the impact and cost of a proposal to completely dismantle our health care system and eliminate employer-sponsored and all other private health insurance,” Bedingfield said. 

She also noted that Democrats won back the House last year in large part on protecting ObamaCare, not replacing it with a universal health care plan. 

Biden has argued for strengthening ObamaCare by adding an optional government-run plan, a similar approach to other more moderate candidates such as Buttigieg. 

Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetSenate Democrat introduces bill to protect food supply Congress headed toward unemployment showdown Fight emerges over unemployment benefits in next relief bill MORE (D-Colo.) and former Rep. John DelaneyJohn DelaneyJohn Delaney endorses Biden Nevada caucuses open with a few hiccups Lobbying world MORE (D-Md.), two other moderates in the 2020 Democratic primary, said Warren’s numbers would not really add up to the roughly $21 trillion cost of her plan. 

“Warren's new numbers are simply not believable, and have been contradicted by experts,” Bennet said. “Regardless of whether it's $21 trillion or $31 trillion, this isn't going to happen, and the American people need health care.”

He called for adopting a public option in addition to private insurance instead.  

"We need universal healthcare; most developed nations have universal healthcare," Delaney said on Twitter. "But Medicare4all is a bad plan."