Warren has some explaining to do
I’m a supporter of Senator Elizabeth Warren, but my wife and I were a little surprised by what appeared to be an evasive posture when she was interviewed by a panel on CNN following Tuesday night’s debate. I don’t think it serves her well when she automatically slides into folksy anecdotes about people suffering from a medical catastrophe. Anyone half awake knows her pitch by now, sincere as it may be. When we hear it over and over, it sounds like a script. The result is that Warren is not answering the specific, honest questions posed by people who are covering the issues 24-7.
I don’t think there is a living American who has not heard of or experienced medical and financial problems resulting from our inadequate health care system, although, under the Obama administration, the Affordable Care Act made great strides in dealing with some of the most egregious inadequacies.
Warren might borrow from Robert Reich’s technique of explaining economics in the simplest and most direct way so that everyone can understand the difference between Medicare for All and the more “moderate” plans of other candidates. Specifically, how it would be funded, and how will individuals — especially those in the middle class — see incredible savings in the long run.
Yes, there is a simple answer to: How would you pay for Medicare for All?
When Elizabeth Warren was asked during the debate Tuesday how she would pay for Medicare for All, Bernie Sanders gave the answer. Yes, taxes would increase, but for the middle class that would be more than offset by the elimination of soaring out-of-pocket costs — premiums, deductibles, and copayments. Nearly every serious analysis shows that would be the case. Moreover, the system as a whole would be more efficient and less inflationary because of the elimination of insurers’ profit motive and overhead costs.
The writer is a member of the faculty in the department of global health and social medicine at Harvard Medical School and former editor in chief of the New England Journal of Medicine.