The broken Medicare-for-all financing debate

Elizabeth Warren's detailed plan only dignifies a dumb narrative

Democratic candidates.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Scott Olson/Getty Images, Joshua Lott/Getty Images, Screenshots: New York Times, RealClear Politics, NPR)

Elizabeth Warren touched off yet another news cycle on Medicare-for-all last week when she released a detailed financing plan for how she would pay for the program. The basic idea is to soak the rich with a variety of special taxes, cut health care costs by squeezing providers, and then make up the difference by capturing slightly less than what employers currently spend on employer-based insurance. Thus she claimed that her plan would not raise taxes on anyone but the rich.

There are a lot of worthy elements to Warren's plan. But its badly-designed tax on employers, and the political calculations implied by that decision, reveal how very broken the Medicare-for-all discussion is in this country.

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