The Key Issue Elizabeth Warren Doesn’t Have a Plan For.

Her campaign slogan is ‘I have a plan for that’, but she’s missing something incredibly important.

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Photo via Elizabeth Warren on Instagram

Elizabeth Warren’s campaign website is definitely unique, and in a field of over twenty candidates that’s saying something. If there’s an issue that an average American faces, it seems like she’s found a way to address it. Whether it be cancelling student loan debt, or to devote 7 billion dollars to leveling the playing field for historically oppressed communities, you can go to her website and there will be a proposed way to deal with it. She has gathered such a reputation for her policy proposals, that her campaign chose to make it their slogan.

And yet, there’s one incredibly significant issue that her website doesn’t even address, let alone have a plan for.

Medicare for All.

As disappointing as that is, all we have to do is look at her town hall answer concerning universal healthcare to understand why. When asked to explain why Medicare for All would be better for workers, Elizabeth Warren stated the following in response:

“…And then when we talk about Medicare for All, there are a lot of different pathways. What we’re all looking for is the lowest cost way to make sure everybody gets covered. And some folks are talking about lets start lowering the age, maybe bring it down to 60, 55, 50. That helps cover people who are most at risk, and can be helpful for example to the labors plans. Some people say do it the other way lets bring it up from everybody under thirty gets covered by medicare. Others say let employers be able to buy in to the Medicare Plans. Others say lets let employees buy in to the Medicare Plans. For me, what’s key is we get everybody at the table on this. That labor’s at the table, that people who have to buy into it on their own, everybody’s at the table together, and we figure out how to do medicare for all in a way that makes sure that we’re gonna get one hundred percent coverage in this country at the lowest possible costs for everyone. That’s our job.”

To be clear, Warren had been talking for quite some time about democrats versus republicans, protecting the affordable care act, etc., before she even addressed Medicare for All. In the end, she didn’t even really answer the question. This vague, rambling, platitude-filled answer on such a crucial topic is disappointing to say the least, especially coming from someone who has such a strong record of being so focused and policy oriented. Of course, she knows this, and her answer did not have to be so drawn out and meaningless.

All that Elizabeth Warren had to say in order to answer the question honestly and specifically is that Medicare for All replaces private insurance companies with a government run, total coverage program, and would effectively eliminate the ties between healthcare coverage and the employer. Workers would be free to quit their job and move on to something better without worrying about losing health insurance for them and their families until benefits kick in with a new employer. It also means that even if you’re fired or laid off from your job, you still have health insurance coverage. That is all she had to say.

Unfortunately, Warren dug herself even deeper in to the hole when the moderator followed up, and brought up that Warren cosponsored Bernie Sanders’ plan for Medicare for All. When answering, Warren stated the following:

“He’s got a runway for that, I think we get everybody together, and that’s what it is we’ll decide. Um, I’ve also cosponsored other bills including expanding Medicaid as another approach that we use. But what’s really important to me about this is we never lose sight of what the center is, because the center is about making sure that every single person in this country gets the coverage they need and that it’s at a price they can afford. We start with our values, we’ll get to the right place.”

Afterwards, when pressed on if there could be a role for private health insurance companies, Warren responded:

“There could, there could. Or there could be a temporary role. Even Bernie’s plan has a runway before it gets there because it’s a big and complex system, and we gotta make sure we land this in a way that doesn’t do any harm. Everybody has got to stay covered. It’s critical.”

The thing is, when going up against the media narrative that Medicare for All will simply end private health insurance companies, without addressing the fact that it will be replaced by a better government run universal plan that covers everyone, you NEED to be prepared to add in that incredibly important caveat when you respond. But I’m not under the impression that Warren is unaware of that. She is far too intelligent. So then, why doesn’t she?

Because she’s not going to take on the insurance companies, and actively fight for Medicare for All. She has openly stated that she plans on taking big money donations for the general, and I have a feeling she might be hoping some health insurance executives might be willing to chip in.

Elizabeth Warren has of course proven herself to be a fighter. She literally ran for the senate in part because of her desire to take on the big banks, and she founded the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau to protect us from predatory practices. She has it in her to fight, and she’s on our side when it comes to so many other issues. Maybe that’s why I find her clear run from this critical issue so massively disappointing.

Healthcare has been topping the list of issues that voting democrats and left leaning independents consider when deciding who to vote for. Now that she is a front runner, we can no longer let her slide by on this. I don’t mind that it isn’t her top priority, but she actually stood up on stage on national television in front of voters, and vaguely played in to the idea that Medicare for All implementation could mean people might lose coverage.

“Everybody has got to stay covered. It’s critical.”

If you are going to be on our side, then you have a responsibility to tell voters the truth. Medicare for All will NOT result in anyone losing coverage, and neither would the implementation process. To pretend otherwise is doing an incredible disservice to not just the discourse surrounding the topic, but the ability of her voters to know what’s in their best interest.

I’m trying so hard to stay fair to Elizabeth Warren, but it’s only getting more difficult the more I think about how she handles this topic. Lives are literally on the line, but she’s still willing to toe that line. It’s incredibly telling of her character as a politician, and indicates what she’ll potentially be like as a leader. While I’m still willing to give her a fair shot, and I maintain that I would certainly take her over Joe Biden, I’d be lying if I said the phrase “beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing” hasn’t been coming to mind as well.

Lauren is a writer & leftist with analysis on topics related to politics & policy. She can be reached at LaurenMartinchek@gmail.com or Twitter @xlauren_mx

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