Monday, December 23, 2019

Warren Backs Off Medicare for All

Elizabeth Warren on the campaign trail,
June 2019 | Cliff Owen/AP Photo
Elizabeth Warren, watched her polling position drop from first to fourth in both Iowa and New Hampshire, and nationally from second/even tied with frontrunner Joe Biden in October and November, to third behind her policy partner and rival, Bernie Sanders. Warren’s frontrunner status attracted an onslaught of attacks, mostly aimed at her adoption of Sanders’s “Medicare for All.” She stubbornly defended her position for months, but finally began to move in the last few weeks. “Choice” is now part of her health care plan, along with “phase in.” Both concepts are to buy her some protection from the least popular aspects of the plan, its apparent abrupt change and its insistence that private health care insurers be banned.

Warren’s predicament is that any backing away from health care for all will be seen as wavering, an undesired moderation for her many supporters and especially Bernie Sanders’s fans. The two of them have held a truce throughout 2019, including in the debates, but if she breaks from Medicare for All, the trench warfare could start.

“‘She’s in a bit of a box here, and she’s got to get some moderation into this as some difference,’ said Floyd Ciruli, a Colorado-based pollster. ‘On the other hand, it likely will produce some resistance and potential backlash from Bernie’s people.’” (David Sherfinski, Washington Times, 12-18-19)

But, Warren has little choice. Although Medicare for All is popular among Democrats, the ban on private insurance is not. More importantly, Democrats’ top priority, including Iowa Democrats, is beating Donald Trump. Warren’s plan is seen as a burden for union and other voters with private health plans. In general, it contributes to her image as a Harvard, New England liberal too far left for the Midwest battleground states.

Bloomberg: Warren backs down on Medicare for All, Now Says It’s a ‘Choice’
Washington Times: Elizabeth Warren scales back 'Medicare of All' plan on 2020 campaign trail

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