Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has been criticized by both the left and the right for her unrealistic and uber-expensive “Medicare for all” scheme.  So much so, that she is in retreat mode now and has conceded that her big plan is untenable.


Warren released a significant “Medicare for all” modification in which she pushes back the decimation of the private health insurance industry for the first three years of her “first term.”  The new plan has two parts and is dependent on Democrats controlling the Senate, preferably with a supermajority.

NBC News reports:

Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., released her plan for transitioning the country to a Medicare For All health care system Friday, splitting the effort into two legislative pushes that would happen over her first term in office, but holding off — at first — on ending the role of private insurance companies.

Instead, she would pass legislation to offer new Medicare benefits to everyone first and then follow up with legislation to end existing employer plans by her third year in office, once the new system has a foothold.

. . . . The first effort — which would be accomplished through a budget reconciliation process that requires only fifty votes in the Senate and isn’t subject to filibuster rules — would establish a “true” Medicare For All public option. This would be free for Americans under 18 years old, as well as individuals below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. For others, costs would be shared under this plan, but eventually decrease to zero. Warren would also work to bolster the Affordable Care Act and Medicare programs during this early period of her administration, while also reversing actions taken by President Donald Trump’s administration that have weakened the ACA.

. . . . The second push — occurring “no later” than Warren’s third year in office — would move to eliminate the role of private insurance, save for in a select few instances, and would complete the full transition to Medicare For All.

The plan envisions that, at this point, the Medicare For All option would already play such a significant role in the health care system that it would be easier politically and practically to complete the job. Warren also envisions having passed a new ethics bill by this point, that she argues would make it harder for health care industry groups to rally opposition.

Note that the first part of this revised plan requires 50 votes in the Senate, thanks to the Reid rule.  Considering that there are not 50 Democrat senators—they have 45 Democrats plus two Independents to the Republicans’ 53—that’s pretty optimistic planning.  Perhaps she imagines that Democrats will win the Senate next November?  She’s certainly hinging her entire healthcare proposal on that unlikely result.

The second part would require the elimination of the Senate filibuster or a supermajority of Democrats.  As the latter is not going to happen even if the Democrats do manage to take back the Senate, the clear signal is that as president and leader of the Democratic Party, she will advocate the elimination of the filibuster to push through massive, economy-destroying legislation that cannot otherwise be passed.

Vox has an overview of the major actions Warren vows to take:

  • Reverse the Trump rule that allows states to loosen the ACA’s requirements for insurance benefits
  • Reverse Trump’s expansion of short-term health insurance plans, which are not subject to Obamacare’s insurance regulations
  • Block Medicaid work requirements
  • Undo Trump administration’s plans to restrict abortion access and weaken health care protections for LGBTQ people
  • Use existing government authorities — compulsory licensing and march-in rights, both of which could allow the government to revoke a drug’s patent if there is a compelling public interest — to allow the production of cheaper versions of insulin, Epipens, opioid overdose medication, and more.
  • Appoint antitrust enforcers to combat hospital consolidation and anti-competitive mergers of hospital and physician practices

You can read her blog post about this new approach to “Medicare for All” here.

Former Vice President Joe Biden (D-DE) has slammed her revised plan, calling it a further attempt to “muddy the waters” and noting that it’s full of “flips and twists.”  Biden, of course, is doubling down on the unpopular ObamaCare monstrosity signed into law while he was vice president.

The Hill reports:

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s White House campaign panned Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) new plan to transition the country to a “Medicare for All” system, accusing her of trying to “muddy the waters.”

“Having discovered how problematic her embrace of Medicare for All has become — its ending of private health coverage, its punishment of states and employers who have done the right thing, its elimination of millions of jobs, its tax increase on the middle class — Senator Warren is now trying to muddy the waters even further,” Biden’s deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said in a statement.

“What started out as ‘mathematical gymnastics’ have been replaced by a full program of flips and twists covering every element of her plan,” she added. “This latest plan will also delay the introduction of her full Medicare for All proposal as far as three years into her term, after the midterms — a move that doesn’t exactly address the urgency of now.”

South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) calls Warren’s new plan “transparently political.”

The Washington Free Beacon reports:

South Bend, Ind., mayor and presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg (D.) ripped Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D., Mass.) new health care plan, saying she “still doesn’t trust the American people” to make decisions for themselves.

The statement, put out by communications adviser Lis Smith, described Warren’s plan as a “transparently political attempt to paper over a very serious policy problem,” criticizing Warren for wanting “to force 150 million people off their private insurance whether they like it or not.”

The far left, already wary of Warren, is upset that she’s backing off single-payer government healthcare, and the right sees her backpedaling as a sign of weakness in both the plan itself and in her political acumen, as fanciful lunacy, and/or as a cynical attempt to mollify concerned donors and primary voters.

It’s probably a bit of all of that, and it will be interesting to see if this two-step approach helps her or if her clumsy and disingenuous approach to “Medicare for All” is going to continue being an albatross for her and her campaign.

 
 
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