Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton cast doubt on Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s $52 trillion Medicare-for-All health care plan, saying the “smarter approach” would be to build on what we have, including adding a public option.
The story: Clinton made the remarks at The New York Times DealBook Conference on Wednesday.
“I think the debate within the Democratic Party is a very healthy debate to try to figure out how to achieve the goal of covering everybody with quality, affordable health care,” Clinton began, as reported by Fox News. “My view on this, having been working on it for many years now, is that the Affordable Care Act took us to 90 percent of coverage, the highest we have ever gotten in our country after many, many efforts… we have a 10-percent gap to fill and we have a lot of learning to do about the best way not only to fill the gap but then to drive down costs as much as it’s possible to do so without undermining quality advancements.”
“The smarter approach is to build on what we have; a public option is something I’ve been in favor of for a very long time,” she said.
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“I don’t believe we should be in the midst of a big disruption while we are trying to get to 100-percent coverage and deal with costs and face some tough issues about competitiveness and other kinds of innovation in health care,” Clinton continued. “If you look at the 2018 election, you even look at the gains that were made by Democrats [on Tuesday’s elections], the people who are saying, ‘You know what, I am determined — we’re gonna get to universal coverage, we’re going to get to a point where people can afford it, their premiums are not going to be skyrocketing, their deductibles are not going to be overwhelming, et cetera — and here’s the best way to do it.’ That is, I think, the best position politically, and I also think it makes the most sense in terms of solving the problem.”
Asked whether she would “get behind” Warren’s plan, the former secretary of state said the plan would likely not pass in the Senate, but argued that the goal of the plan “is the right goal.”
“The details will be litigated out in the campaign, maybe even in court, but certainly in the Congress, if somebody is successfully elected. And, I think it’s important to say, what are the overall goals, and how realistic is it that we can achieve the overall goals if we go down Path A compared to Path B? And, I think the Affordable Care Act approach is the more likely path to be successful.”
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Concerning Warren’s proposed “wealth tax,” Clinton said:
“I just don’t understand how that could work, and I don’t see other examples anywhere else in the world where it has actually worked over a long period of time. I would be all in favor of reinstating the estate tax because that is much more measurable. It is not as disruptive.”
“If you were going to do a wealth tax and it was on assets… how you would value it is, I think, complicated to start with. But, assuming you can get some system of evaluation, people would literally have to sell assets to pay the tax on the assets that they owned before the wealth tax was levied. That would be incredibly disruptive, so I think there are other ways to raise the revenues,” she continued.
Warren unveiled her health plan on Nov. 1, saying that the plan, projected to cost about $52 trillion over ten years, will not include a tax hike on the middle class.
“Not one penny in middle-class tax increases,” Warren said.
Today, I’m releasing my plan to pay for #MedicareForAll. Here’s the headline: My plan won't raise taxes one penny on middle-class families. In fact, we'll return about $11 TRILLION to the American people. That's bigger than the biggest tax cut in our history. Here's how:
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) November 1, 2019
Critics of the plan, however, said the Massachusetts senator won’t be able to raise $52 trillion to pay for her plan without increasing taxes on middle-class Americans, according to The Washington Post.
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