Is Elizabeth warren looking for safer ground in health care?

Is Elizabeth Warren looking for safer ground in health care?
From the start Warren’s mantra as a candidate has been her advocacy of big structural change to rebalance a system she says is tilted to the biggest corporations and to the wealthy and the well connected rather than the rest of society.She issued a series of plans covering things such as child care and college costs and housing, ambitious and costly initiatives that she said would pay for with a new wealth tax on people with fortunes of $50 million or more. She promises to take on the big banks and drug companies and the tech giants. She supports political reforms that would diminish the power of special interests and big money in politics.One piece was always missing in those early days. That was a health-care plan. Warren has sought to bring rigor to her policy proposals, and as every candidate and president has learned, health care is the knottiest, most complex and seemingly insoluble of the big issues. She seemed in no rush to put her own stamp on a plan until she was ready.Like all the candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination she shared the goal of assuring universal and affordable health-care coverage to all Americans. She was for Medicare-for-all rhetorically but hesitated to offer her own distinctive plan, perhaps knowing that this could be a 10-year project and one that might be done in small steps or in a big bang.During a CNN town hall meeting in March she said When we talk about Medicare-for all there are a lot of different pathways. What we’re all looking for is the lowest-cost way to make sure that everybody gets covered.She took a fateful step away from that position during the first Democratic debate in June in Miami. Asked by NBC News’s Lester Holt who would support eliminating private insurance, she raised her hand. Moments later, she cast her lot with Sen. Bernie Sanders who has long been the most vocal advocate of replacing the current employer-based insurance system with a single-payer government-managed system. I’m with Bernie on Medicare-for-all she said that night.That helped to widen a fault line in the Democratic field between those like Warren and Sanders, who were calling for the elimination of private insurance, and those like former vice president Joe Biden and others, who proposed building on the Affordable Care Act by adding a public option but not jettisoning the current structure.Warren further isolated herself by declining to explain how she would pay for Medicare-for-all in contrast with Sanders. The senator readily acknowledged that, under his proposal, middle-class families would pay higher taxes. But he argued that the shift to a single-payer system would result in lower overall costs to those families for their health-care coverage and therefore was well worth it.Warren, under repeated questioning and criticism from her rivals, would not answer directly. She tried to deflect by saying that she would not sign a plan that would mean higher health-care costs for middle-class Americans. To her critics and even some of her supporters it was an evasive and unsatisfying answer particularly coming from someone who had detailed answers to questions about her other proposals.
Then a few weeks ago just before a big Iowa Democratic Party fundraising dinner that drew all the candidates Warren answered her critics by issuing a financing plan for Medicare for all. She had experts who vouched for the soundness of the financing plan but other experts picked it apart as unrealistic based on some overly rosy assumptions. To the broader audience of Democrats it didn’t pass muster.For those with doubts about her viability as a general election candidate the proposal only added to their worries. Politically it fell far short of what she might have hoped. It opened her up to fresh charges that she was advocating a health care plan that lacks majority support in the country and didn’t have a sound plan to pay for it.

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