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Elizabeth Warren releases Medicare for All funding plan with huge $52 trillion price tag


More taxes, more government spending

Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) finally released a plan detailing how she would pay for Medicare for All if she is elected president, and it predictably includes shockingly high costs and significant additional taxes.

Warren released the plan in a post on the blogging website Medium, responding to growing criticism about how vague she has been on the topic of paying for a single-payer health care system — especially without raising taxes on the middle class, as she has claimed.

She is still sticking to the claim that middle class taxes won't go up, but her plan boasts a total cost of $52 trillion over 10 years, which she says can be covered by trillions in additional spending, more taxes on the wealthy and corporations, and reallocation of current government spending.

Warren says the current health care system will cost $52 trillion over 10 years anyway, so she's not proposing a system that will cost much less — she's proposing a system that will funnel the money to the federal government instead of private insurance companies.

In Warren's words, "the debate isn't really about whether the United States should pay more or less. It's about who should pay."

Medicare for All will require $20.5 trillion in additional federal spending, which still leaves more than $30 trillion left to be covered from other sources.

Under Warren's plan, employers will be forced to contribute to Medicare money they would normally spend on private group health care plans for employees. Right now, Warren says, employers are set to pay about $9 trillion in contributions to insurance companies for employee health care, and she is proposing they simply stop doing that and pay a similar amount into Medicare.

The plan calls for increased funding to the IRS to help close the "tax gap" between taxes owed and taxes actually collected, particularly by focusing enforcement on higher-income earners rather than those with lower incomes.

Warren would impose higher taxes on billionaires, take away some tax breaks and deductions from corporations, and establish a 35 percent minimum corporate tax rate on foreign earnings.

The plan also includes proposed legislation to reduce prescription drug costs.

Warren plans to release future details about how the country would make the massive transition to a single-payer system, presumably including what to do about the millions of jobs that could be lost by eliminating the private insurance industry.

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