A Clinton Democrat took aim at Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s healthcare plan, comparing her “Medicare for all” proposal to the ceremonial suicides of samurais in Japan.
In a Tuesday op-ed for the Wall Street Journal titled “Elizabeth Warren’s Health-Care Hara-Kiri,” former President Clinton’s deputy assistant for domestic policy William Galston questioned whether or not America is ready for the “big structural change” Warren has promised. He also wondered if Democrats would “be wise to bet that it is” ahead of the 2020 presidential election.
“Now that Ms. Warren has released her long-awaited “Medicare for all” plan, there is no longer any need to discuss this issue in the abstract,” he wrote. “She has zoomed past the last offramp and is now fully committed to a plan that would revolutionize the way healthcare is financed and delivered in the U.S. She can’t run on this plan in the primaries and then shift to something more modest in the general election, even if she wants to.”
“‘Medicare for all’ would enroll everyone in the same government plan, whatever their preferences,” he continued. “Let’s be clear about what this would mean.”
Galston then laid out possible consequences of the plan, including the loss of private, employer-based healthcare insurance coverage in favor of a government-run system. He pointed to Americans’ lack of trust in government as evidence that voters may not be easily sold on the idea. He also noted that studies had shown Democrats themselves “prefer a candidate who would build on the existing Affordable Care Act” rather than overhauling it for “Medicare for all.”
“Ms. Warren insists that if Democrats are willing to put up a fight, they can get “Medicare for all” done. As I recall, the Light Brigade was full of fight, but its charge into enemy lines still yielded an epic catastrophe,” he said. “Ms. Warren should be commended for the wealth of detail in her plan, which allows voters to judge it for themselves.”
Galston added, “This said, she may well have penned the longest suicide note in recorded history. There’s no reason for the entire Democratic Party to sign it.”
Warren released her detailed “Medicare for all” plan last week after facing pressure to explain how her proposal would be funded. In an attempt to avoid raising middle-class taxes, the plan calls for an additional $20 trillion in taxes on employers, financial firms, giant corporations, and the top 1% of earners.
The plan was met with backlash from the healthcare industry, which says it will face major closures under Warren’s “Medicare for all” system and that patients will lose access to care. Before releasing her plan, Warren faced skepticism for supporting Sen. Bernie Sanders’s “Medicare for all” proposal on the campaign trail, with Democratic voters in South Carolina and New Hampshire raising concerns.
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