Elizabeth Warren promised Friday to spend more than $20 trillion over the next decade to provide government-funded health care to every American without raising middle-class taxes—finally offering ideas about how to implement the massive "Medicare for All" program without taking a larger bite out of most Americans' salaries. Her plan, posted online, is built on transferring to the government 98% of the $8.8 trillion she estimates that employers would spend on private insurance for their employees, per the AP. Remaining costs would be covered by "taxes on big corporations, Wall Street, and the top 1%—and enforcing the tax laws we have now," she explains. "My Medicare for All plan gives everyone good insurance and cuts their health care costs to nearly zero—without increasing middle-class taxes one penny," Warren says.
Companies with fewer than 50 employees would be exempted, and Warren said employers already offering health benefits reached under collective bargaining agreements will be allowed to reduce how much they send to federal coffers—provided they pass those savings on to employees. If the program fails to raise $8.8 trillion, Warren says she'd impose a supplemental contribution requirement for big companies "with extremely high executive compensation and stock buyback rates." A critical question is how she'd slash the cost of her plan well below what experts have said it would take to implement it. Coming up with lower payment rates for hospitals and doctors that avoid disrupting the system would be a big challenge for a Warren administration and for Congress, where her plan could bog down.
(Read more Elizabeth Warren