Elizabeth Warren’s ‘Medicare-for-All’ Plan Burdens the Middle Class

Joseph Klein,
What the radical presidential candidate would rather not discuss.
Senator Elizabeth Warren is the “Occupy Wall Street” presidential candidate. Years after she claimed credit for creating “much of the intellectual foundation” of the radical Occupy Wall Street movement and declaring “I support what they do,” Warren is now demonizing Wall Street as part of her standard campaign stump speech. She infuses her populist rhetoric with catchy lines such as “Our democracy has been hijacked by the rich and powerful.” Her adoring fans in the progressive base of the Democratic Party love every bombastic diatribe that Warren hurls at the top 1 percent. They wholeheartedly embrace her soak-the-rich plans even if they do not know all the details the plans contain. The latest of Warren’s plans describes how she intends to soak the rich and big corporations to pay for her “Medicare for All” program. Her version of “Medicare for All” is estimated to cost the federal government at least an additional 20.5 trillion dollars over the next ten years. The red meat she is throwing to her progressive base includes increasing the amount of her original wealth tax on billionaires from 3 percent to 6 percent and making her hated top 1 percent pay more taxes on their investment income.

Warren claims that the middle class will not have to pay a single cent in taxes to pay for her “Medicare for All” program. This is not entirely true, as explained below. At the same time, Warren plays down how her government run, one size fits all plan will cost middle class workers massive job losses. And she avoids altogether the risk that her plan will result in health care rationing, significantly degrading the quality and availability of health care that Americans who are not rich enough to pay for their own private health care will receive.

Warren’s plan would end private health insurance altogether. Americans will be forced into her new federal government plan in order to receive paid-for health care of any sort. Virtually all the money that employers were paying for their employees’ private health insurance would be transferred to the government to help pay for Warren’s program. She is calling this massive mandatory transfer of money from the private market to big government the “Employer Medicare Contribution.”

Under Warren’s plan, the savings that employees will realize by not contributing any longer to the payment of premiums for employer-provided health insurance would be taxed as additional take home pay. This is little more than a backdoor tax increase on all taxpayers, including the middle class. They will be forced to lose their private health insurance of choice and pay more taxes instead to the government for the “privilege” of no longer being able to contribute to the cost of the insurance plans they like. A majority of Americans are satisfied with both their present health coverage and the quality of the health care they are receiving. Yet Warren wants to turn the nation’s health care system upside down.

In addition, Elizabeth Warren’s proposed financial transactions tax on stock trades will hurt Main Street middle class investors.

How about all the workers in the private health insurance industry that goes away under Warren’s plan. Warren acknowledged that as many as 2 million jobs could disappear as a result of “Medicare for All,” but she coldly considered the steep job losses “part of the cost issue.” No, Senator Warren, it’s not simply a dollars and cents “cost issue.” Real human beings at all income levels will suffer real economic harm to themselves and their families if they lose their jobs. We are not just talking about billionaires or millionaires here. The national average salary for a Health Insurance Specialist is $88,729, according to Glassdoor Inc. The national average salary for a Health Insurance Agent is $35,522. Additional cash compensation could bring the figure up to around $52,000. Not exactly members of the top 1 percent club who Warren reviles. Yet, in true Marie Antoinette ‘let them eat cake’ fashion, Warren cavalierly surmised that “Some of the people currently working in health insurance will work in other parts of insurance. In life insurance, in auto insurance, in car insurance.”

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