“I noticed she didn’t bring up ‘Medicare for All’ until the very end, and I thought, ‘Huh, she must be worried about that,’ ” said Buntz, 78, a retired college professor and undecided voter who attended a rally this week at
After months of touting her plan to provide free health care to all Americans under a government-run system, Warren mostly went quiet on the big plan during recent events in
Warren’s embrace of Medicare For All, first backed by fellow presidential contender
Her stance on that very same issue, however, has created political headwinds for Warren in
A recent New York Times/Siena poll in
The differing opinions reflect a larger debate within the Democratic Party that has unfolded all year, with progressives such as Warren and Sanders wanting to put an end to private insurance while more moderate candidates such as former Vice President
Warren’s lack of emphasis on the plan in
All three favor adding a public option to Obamacare, which would create a government-run program to compete with private insurance in an attempt to drive down costs without forcing people to leave their employer-based plans. That more measured and less expensive approach has proven more popular among moderate voters who make up roughly half of the expected electorate in the first-in-the-nation
While the best way to reform the nation’s health care system remains a matter of great debate within the Democratic field, the issue by far remains the most important topic to the party’s voters. A new
On the campaign trail, that makes Warren’s rare discussion of the topic in recent days all the more noticeable. At events in
“I didn’t get any questions about it,” Warren said. “I talked about how to restructure our democracy. I talked about structural change in our economy. I didn’t get any questions, and so far, I haven’t gotten any in the photo line either.”
On the defensive
Early on in her presidential campaign, Warren embraced Sanders’ Medicare For All proposal, and she has signed on as co-sponsor of his
That left her facing pointed attacks in the most recent televised debate last month, a moment that coincided with her rise to the top of the polls in
The next day, Warren vowed to release a plan to detail how Medicare For All would be funded. She did so just hours before the big Democratic fundraising dinner in
In addition to the
The release of the plan quickly led to a new round of criticism from opponents in
“I get it. The giant insurance companies don’t like it, the giant drug companies don’t like it, because it will bite into the profits they’ve been taking out of the system,” Warren said. “But I think we can do a lot better than that, and that’s what I’m going to keep talking to the American people about.”
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Mum on Medicare
There has been little of such talk, however, from Warren on the
That included a stop at a
Warren spent six minutes hitting the highlights of her campaign for “big, structural change,” including enforcing antitrust laws, instituting a wealth tax, creating universal child care and pre-K, increasing wages for child care and preschool workers, increasing public school funding by
The senator, however, made no mention of her sweeping health care proposal.
Perhaps she knew her audience. One of the major arguments against Medicare For All within the Democratic field has been that union members who negotiated for good health care would lose their plans. (Although that didn’t stop Sanders from professing his support for Medicare For All to a round of applause at the fish fry).
While the assembled crowd was decidedly pro-union, there were a wide array of views from those in attendance on what
“Almost every country in the Western world can provide that kind of care, so there is no excuse for America not to do it,” said Gray, 77, who lives in
“It was difficult to the point where I didn’t think it was going to pass, and it was just inching along and then it finally happened,” said Lucy, 72, who lives in
Upon his retirement from the
Warren was asked by reporters on the
“I think this is the strength on running very clear ideas and showing exactly how they can be implemented and how we can pay for them,” she said. “When I win, I will turn around to all my Democratic colleagues and say, ‘This is what I ran on. It’s there, and this is what the majority of the people in
‘Not a definitive sale’
At another town hall in a lobby of
The 40-year-old immigration attorney said she has Type 1 diabetes and was concerned about what type of coverage she might have as the country transitioned to Medicare For All under her plan. Warren didn’t address specific coverage, but emphasized that the government and employers would continue to cover their share of costs while most Americans together would save trillions of dollars.
“I wear two medical devices. They’re expensive, but they make life with diabetes so much easier, so what I’m concerned about is am I going to be able to have those advanced technologies when we’re transitioning to a Medicare For All plan," said Patters, who lives in
While she has concerns, Patters said she “wholeheartedly” supports Medicare For All, because “I don’t think we’re going to get what we need with just a public option” because the country would still have a “health care system that is just looking at profits.”
“I think she’s absolutely on the right track with her health care for all,” said Usher, 57, who lives in the eastern
“I think if it works for every other developed nation on the earth, we should be able to make it work for us," said Schuster, 35, a chemist who lives near
“I mean I know that’s one of the things they’re all trying to differentiate themselves on, but maybe it was a strategic reason not to push an issue that’s not a definitive sale around here,” Schuster said. “I was talking to a co-worker today who swore off
“If something happens to me, and I have to go to the hospital, I’m worried about what kind of care I’d get,” said Seda, 53, who saw Warren in
Seda said Warren, Harris and Buttigieg are the candidates he is thinking about caucusing for, and health care will be a key issue he considers. Asked what he thought about Warren not bringing up the topic much at the rally, the veteran caucusgoer didn’t seem too surprised.
“Well," he said. “It is controversial."
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