Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren bear-hugged “Medicare for All” during the first Democratic presidential debate Wednesday and took her support a step further than she’s been willing to go in the past.
Warren, who has previously voiced tepid support for Medicare for All, raised her hand when the 10 candidates onstage were asked if they supported a policy to “abolish their private health insurance and replace it with a government-run plan.”
“I’m with Bernie on Medicare for All,” Warren said afterward.
That’s much clearer than the Massachusetts senator has been in the past on the major health insurance reform plan championed by Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders. Warren is one of a half-dozen Democratic senators running for president who’d cosponsored the legislation while talking of the plan as just one of many alternatives to improving health insurance.
But Warren was unequivocal onstage Wednesday. She said that health insurance companies were only interested in maximizing profits, leaving “families with rising premiums, rising copays, and fighting with insurance companies.”
“Medicare for All solves that problem. And I understand there are a lot of politicians that say it’s just not possible," Warren said. "What they're really telling you is they just won’t fight for it. Well, health care is a basic human right. And I will fight for basic human rights."
Sanders' plan would eliminate nearly all private health insurance plans in a policy phased in over four years, replacing the entire country's main health care with a single-payer government system. The proposed coverage benefits would be more expansive than nearly all current health insurance plans — and more expansive than that of other countries that have government health care plans.
Previously, Warren had embraced the term while dancing around the details.
“I’ve signed on to Medicare for All,” Warren said earlier this year. “There are different ways we can get there.”
Warren and Sanders are battling for the progressive lane in the Democratic primary. Warren has risen in recent early-state and national polls at Sanders’ expense, leading to some increased sniping from Sanders allies at his erstwhile friend and ally.
The move may play well in the primary. But Republicans pounced on a policy that they — and some Democrats — believe could be problem are plans and don’t want to be forced to give them up.
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel was quick with the attack:
Cover image: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., gestures towards New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, during a Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)