Elizabeth Warren’s Plan to Pay for “Medicare for All” Is Not Entirely Realistic

Elizabeth Warren’s plan to finance Medicare is going to play well on the campaign trail, even if (or perhaps because) it’s not entirely realistic.

The candidate released her highly anticipated proposal on Friday along with a pair of detailed cost and revenue estimates from some nicely credentialed policy experts. Previously, Warren had vowed that she wouldn’t sign any heath care bill unless it lowered overall health costs for middle-class families. The new blueprint goes even further. It promises that workers would immediately see their take-home pay rise thanks to single payer, since they would no longer have to contribute to their private insurance premiums and would not be directly subjected to any new taxes.

This, it seems, is going to be the campaign’s new talking point: “Medicare for All” won’t increase your taxes, but it will give you a raise! And that’s a great pitch. But to arrive there, Warren relies on some ambitious assumptions about the government’s ability to control health care costs and raise tax revenue that, while hard to disprove, might not be entirely plausible.


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