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Elizabeth Warren faces attacks from moderates at the debate over paying for healthcare

Democratic debate
Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg in the Democratic debate.
(Win McNamee / Getty Images)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts refused to say whether her “Medicare for all” healthcare proposal would increase taxes on the middle class, prompting her more moderate rivals to lace into the surging progressive for being evasive with the American people during Tuesday night’s Democratic debate.

“This is why people here in the Midwest are so frustrated with Washington in general, and Capitol Hill in particular. Your signature, Senator, is to have a plan for everything — except this,” South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg said to Warren. “No plan has been laid out to explain how a multi-trillion-dollar hole in this Medicare for all plan that Sen. Warren is putting forward is expected to get filled in.”

The 12 top Democratic presidential candidates sharply criticized each other over healthcare, gun control and anti-trust policy on the Ohio stage where they met for the fourth Democratic primary debate.

Buttigieg made the remark after debate moderator Marc Lacey asked Warren to answer “yes” or “no” as to whether her plan would raise taxes on middle-class families. She did not answer directly, instead saying that she would not sign legislation that increased costs for the middle class.

“I have made clear what my principles are here, which is costs will go up for the wealthy and big corporations, and for hard-working middle-class families, costs will go down,” Warren said.

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Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont interjected to note that his Medicare for all plan would result in a tax increase for many Americans, but that they would see their overall costs lowered because of the elimination of deductibles, premiums and other healthcare costs.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar sided with Buttigieg, arguing that Warren needed to be more up front with Americans.

“At least Bernie’s being honest about this,” Klobuchar said. “We owe it to the American people to tell them where we’re going to send the invoice…. The difference between a plan and a pipe dream is something you can actually get done.”


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