Pete Buttigieg Criticizes Elizabeth Warren Over Refusal to Say Medicare for All Requires Higher Taxes

September 20, 2019 Updated: September 20, 2019

Democratic presidential contender Pete Buttigieg slammed rival Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) for being “extremely evasive” when being asked how she’d pay for Medicare for All if elected president.

Asked during a Sept. 19 appearance on CNN about Warren dodging the question during the last 2020 debate, Buttigieg said that Warren “is known for being straightforward and was extremely evasive when asked that question and we’ve seen that repeatedly.”

“I think that if you are proud of your plan and it’s the right plan, you should defend it in straightforward terms. And I think it’s puzzling that when everybody knows the answer to that question of whether her plan and Senator [Bernie] Sanders’ plan will raise middle-class taxes is yes, why you wouldn’t just say so, and then explain why you think that’s the better way forward.”

Warren has not released a healthcare plan but said she supports Sanders’ plan, which is projected to cost $32.6 trillion over 10 years.

Sanders has said his plan would require higher taxes on the middle class. “You’re going to pay more in taxes,” he said at a Fox News town hall in April. He has also said the plan would cover illegal immigrants. Warren has not been asked if she would push to cover the illegal aliens if she were elected.

buttigieg criticizes warren
(L)-Democratic presidential hopeful Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg speaks during the 2020 presidential debate on Sept. 12, 2019. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images) (R)-Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) speaks at the Democratic presidential debate in Houston, Texas on Sept. 12, 2019. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

Warren has repeatedly deflected when asked if she would raise taxes on the middle-class through the healthcare proposal. In a debate in July, she said the “total costs” would go down. In the debate this month, Warren said “those at the very top” would pay more but “middle-class families are going to pay less.”

Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, on Thursday released a healthcare plan (pdf) he’s calling “Medicare for All Who Want It.”

He said his plan doesn’t require raising taxes on the middle class.

Buttigieg’s plan includes subsidies for low-income people so they can get better healthcare coverage, requiring all bills from in-network facilities to be billed as in-network, automatically enrolling people in a healthcare plan if they are eligible, and capping premium payments at 8.5 percent of income.

“Through Pete’s Medicare for All Who Want It plan, everyone will be able to opt in to an affordable, comprehensive public alternative. This affordable public plan will incentivize private insurers to compete on price and bring down costs. If private insurers are not able to offer something dramatically better, this public plan will create a natural glide-path to Medicare for All. The choice of a public plan empowers people to make their own decisions regarding the type of health care that makes sense for them by leveling the playing field between patients and the health care system. It gives the American people a choice and trusts them to set the pace at which our country moves in a better direction on health care,” according to Buttigieg’s campaign website.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
RECOMMENDED