LAS VEGAS – Sen. Elizabeth Warren took a sledgehammer to the health care plans of three of her Democratic presidential nomination rivals at Wednesday night’s debate.
The progressive senator from Massachusetts derided the health care proposal of the other female candidate on the debate stage – Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota – saying “Amy’s plan is even less. It’s like a Post-it Note, insert plan here.”
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And Warren slammed the plan proposed by former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg – saying “Mayor Buttigieg really has a slogan that was thought up by his consultants to paper over a thin version of a plan that would leave millions of people unable to afford their health care. It’s not a plan, it’s a PowerPoint.”
Warren – a former front-runner in the Democratic nomination race who saw her poll numbers slip even before disappointing third- and fourth-place finishes in the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary – was a strong supporter of a government-run “Medicare-for-all” health care system, although her stance on a single-payer plan has moderated in recent months.
The current Medicare-for-all bill in Congress was written by another 2020 rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
But Warren took aim at her fellow progressive champion, saying that Sanders was being too rigid in trying to grab support for Medicare-for-all.
“Instead of expanding and bringing in more people to help, instead his campaign relentlessly attacks everyone who asks a question or tries to fill in details about how to actually make this work,” Warren argued. “And then his own advisers say, ‘That probably won’t happen anyway.’”
Klobuchar, Buttigieg and former Vice President Joe Biden oppose Medicare-for-all and instead are all proposing strengthening the ObamaCare health care law with a public option.
Klobuchar, responding to Warren, joked that “I take personal offense since Post-it Notes were invented in my state,” which elicited laughter from the debate audience.
The centrist senator went on to tout that “my plan is a public option and, according to all the studies out there, it would reduce premiums for 12 million people immediately. It would expand coverage for about that same number. It is a significant thing.”
And Buttigieg, responding to Warren’s attack, emphasized that his proposal “is a plan that solves the problem, makes sure there is no such thing as an uninsured American, and doesn’t amount to kicking off anybody off the plan that they have.”