Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren skirted a question on taxes during Tuesday evening’s primary debate, and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar were quick to take the fight to her.
Warren was asked directly, more than once, whether her Medicare for All plan would force Americans to pay higher taxes — and she refocused the question each time to address the overall cost, which she assured the crowd would not go up for the middle class. (RELATED: Buttigieg Attacks Bernie, Warren On Health Care In Ad Ahead Of Debate)
Buttigieg immediately called her out for being evasive, saying, “We heard it tonight. A yes or no question that didn’t get a yes or no answer. This is why people are so us from are frustrated. Your signature is to have a plan for everything, except this. No plan has been laid out to explain how a multi-trillion dollar hole in this plan that senator Warren is putting forward is supposed to get filled in.”
Warren responded by repeating her promise that costs would not go up for the middle class, saying that Buttigieg’s plan — Medicare for All Who Want It — was really just another plan that would only be available to those who could afford it.
But Buttigieg fired back once again, arguing that Warren’s plan eliminated the choices that Americans want. “I don’t think the American people are wrong when they say that what they want is a choice,” he said. “The choice of Medicare for all who want it, which is affordable for everyone, because we make sure that the subsidies are in place, allows you to get that health care. It’s just better than Medicare for all whether you want it or not. I don’t understand why you believe the only way to deliver affordable coverage is to obliterate private plans.”
Klobuchar was next to pile on Warren, noting that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was at least “being honest” when he conceded that his Medicare for All Plan — the same one that Warren has endorsed — would raise taxes.
“Bernie is being honest about how he’s going to pay for this and that taxes are going to go up. And I’m sorry, Elizabeth, but you have not said that. And I think we owe it to the American people to tell them where we will send the invoice,” Klobuchar claimed, arguing that they should instead work to fix Obamacare. “That’s what we should do instead of kicking 149 million people off their insurance. I’m tired of hearing whenever I say these things, ‘it’s Republican talking points.’ You are making Republican talking points right now in this room by coming out for a plan that’s going to do that.”
Warren responded by saying that she had spent her time coming up with plans to fix the problems faced by the middle class. “The problem we have got right now is the overall cost of health care. You can try to spin this any way you want. I have spent my life on working on how America’s middle class has been hollowed out and how we fight back. I put out nearly 50 plans on how we can fight back and rebuild an America that works,” she said.
Klobuchar concluded with one last parting shot, “The difference between a plan and a pipe dream is something that you can actually get done. We can get this public option done.”