Sen. Elizabeth Warren said Wednesday that she will “of course” consult with Sen. Bernie Sanders about her soon-to-be-released plan on how to pay for “Medicare for All,” but that she has not yet discussed those details with him.
“I’m glad to talk to Bernie about this,” Warren told reporters after a campaign rally in Durham, New Hampshire.
Warren has come under blistering criticism over the past few weeks from her Democratic primary rivals who oppose a swift move to a single-payer health care system. The Massachusetts senator is a co-sponsor, twice over, of Sanders’ signature health care bill, saying as a presidential candidate: “I’m with Bernie on Medicare for All.”
In recent months, critics have increasingly assailed Warren over her vague answers to questions about how the program would be funded, particularly when she’s been pressed on whether middle class tax hikes would be necessary to make the numbers work. On the heels of the CNN/New York Times debate in Ohio, where she repeatedly came under fire, Warren announced that her campaign would soon release its own financing plan — opening up the possibility that the two leading progressives could ultimately disagree on how to fund Medicare for All.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, have sought to use the issue as part of a broader attack on Warren’s trustworthiness — and her “I have a plan for that” branding.
Sanders, who authored the Medicare for All legislation, said in an interview with CNBC published Tuesday that he did not believe a full financing plan was necessary “right now.” But he has, both in 2016 and more recently, released white papers articulating a set of potential pay-fors.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Biden campaign hit Sanders — and Warren, without naming her — in response, saying in part, “When you’re running to take on the most dishonest president in American history, Senator Sanders and others who back Medicare for All have to preserve their credibility.”
Warren in New Hampshire reaffirmed her support for Medicare for All and again promised that she would soon release a clear outline of how she would pay for it.
“I continue to work on parts of it that need more information,” she said. “For me, one of them is about talking about what the cost is. You may know, the cost for Medicare for All estimates vary by trillions and trillions of dollars. So I’m going to have a plan to talk about what the cost is and I’m going have a plan to talk about how we can pay for it.”
Asked what she made of the recent “flak” she’s come under from other candidates, Warren downplayed the attacks and argued that, for all the recent noise, the differences among the Democratic candidates are mild in comparison to what distinguished the party from its GOP opponents.
“Actually, I don’t see it as flak. I see it as people who are wrestling with the question of how we make sure that Americans get covered by health care,” Warren said. “You know, it’s the other side, the Republicans, who think it’s just fine for millions of people not to have health care coverage at all, for insurance companies to be able to discriminate against people who have preexisting conditions, who are right now pursuing a lawsuit so that the entire Affordable Care Act would be repealed.”