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Biden hits Warren over 'Medicare for All' plan

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden's quiet diplomacy under pressure as Israel-Hamas fighting intensifies Overnight Defense: Administration approves 5M arms sale to Israel | Biden backs ceasefire in call with Netanyahu | Military sexual assault reform push reaches turning point CDC mask update sparks confusion, opposition MORE’s campaign hit Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenSenators shed masks after CDC lifts mandate Helping students make informed decisions on college Student debt cancellation advocates encouraged by Biden, others remain skeptical 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 SandersSenators shed masks after CDC lifts mandate Sunrise Movement endorses Nina Turner in special election for Ohio House seat The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Israel-Hamas carnage worsens; Dems face SALT dilemma MORE (I-Vt.) and more moderate candidates like Biden and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegInfrastructure deal imperiled by differences on financing Biden says he and GOP both 'sincere about' seeking infrastructure compromise The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Colonial pays hackers as service is restored 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 TrumpGOP-led Maricopa County board decries election recount a 'sham' Analysis: Arpaio immigration patrol lawsuit to cost Arizona county at least 2 million Conservatives launch 'anti-cancel culture' advocacy organization 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 BennetDemocrats renew push for permanent child credit expansion The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Israel-Hamas carnage worsens; Dems face SALT dilemma New York, New Jersey, California face long odds in scrapping SALT  MORE (D-Colo.) and former Rep. John DelaneyJohn DelaneyLobbying world Coronavirus Report: The Hill's Steve Clemons interviews Rep. Rodney Davis Eurasia Group founder Ian Bremmer says Trump right on China but wrong on WHO; CDC issues new guidance for large gatherings 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."