Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a top-tier candidate in the Democratic primary race, has championed a “Medicare for All”-style, government-run, single-payer health care system that would ostensibly provide universal coverage while abolishing private health insurance and costing taxpayers trillions of dollars per year.
But while such a plan may be popular among more progressive members of the Democratic Party, reports indicate that the idea isn’t sitting well with moderate Dems — or the American public as a whole.
Senate Democrats object
According to The Hill, several top Democrats in the Senate have made clear that they wouldn’t support Warren’s Medicare for All plan if it came up for a vote — at least, not in its current form.
Among those to express opposition to Warren’s plan are Sens. (D-AL), Tom Carper (D-DE), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bob Menedez (D-NJ), and Mark Warner (D-VA).
At issue for most of these Democrats is Warren’s choice to abolish private health insurance in favor of a system that is completely controlled and funded by the federal government — not to mention the incredible across-the-board tax hikes that would be necessary to pay for it.
Many of them are more in favor of plans that would present a sort of opt-in for Medicare that would provide a “public option” alongside a strengthened Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare. (Such plans have been presented by 2020 candidates like former Vice President Joe Biden and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.)
Warren’s Medicare for All plan fares a little bit better in the Democrat-controlled House, but even there, it only has the support of about half of the caucus and is opposed by top party leaders such as Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
American people not sold
But it isn’t just a reticent Congress that a President Warren would have to contend with to pass her health care overhaul into law.
Warren still has to win over the American people in 2020, and at the moment, that prospect is not looking good for her.
According to Axios, while the popularity of Medicare for All has risen sharply over the past two decades — it had 40% support in 2000; in 2018, it saw 59% — support for the idea has since dropped precipitously to a slim majority of 51% in 2019, and it is likely to continue to fall in the future. Americans by and large don’t like the idea of losing private health insurance, bearing a tougher tax burden, and losing control over their medical decisions.
Still, a more incremental and nuanced plan, like a government-run public option that Americans could buy into if they wanted, is more popular and “less threatening” in the eyes of the American people, so Warren could always change course slightly after she gets elected.
That said, the Massachusetts senator has shown little willingness to compromise on her plans so far — and looking ahead to 2020, you can bet that President Donald Trump and his campaign team will capitalize on the flaws of her policies every chance they get.