Warren pushes back on critics of her healthcare plan

WAVERLY, IOWA (AP) — Elizabeth Warren pushed back against critics of her newly released plan to phase in implementation of a single-payer healthcare system, insisting on Saturday that she is “fully committed” to Medicare for All and that she plans to first build on existing health care programmes because “people need help right now.”

“My commitment to Medicare for All is all the way,” Warren told reporters, responding to critics who’ve questioned the timing behind the release of her implementation plan.

On Friday, the Massachusetts Democrat released a plan outlining how she would transition to a full Medicare for All programme, first by using executive action to bring down drug and health care prices and by pushing Congress to pass a bill giving Americans the option to buy in to an expanded government-run Medicare plan. Warren said she’ll then work with Congress to pass pieces of a universal coverage proposal more gradually, with the whole thing being ready “no later than” her third year in office.

The transition plan drew criticism from opposing campaigns, with a spokeswoman for Joe Biden accusing Warren of “muddying the waters” on health care and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s campaign calling it “transparently political”.

Several Democratic candidates, including Biden and Buttigieg, have proposed plans similar to the first phase of Warren’s health care plan, which would allow Americans to buy into a public option.

Asked about the difference between her plan and Buttigieg’s, Warren said that “mine is about actually giving people Medicare for All that is going to be full health care coverage”, and outlined ways in which she said her public option would offer more expansive health care coverage than those proposed by Buttigieg or Biden. Warren also brushed off critics, insisting that she released the plan now because “right now is when it’s ready” and that the details she’s proposed are clear.

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren. PHOTO: AP