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Elizabeth Warren Calls for Elimination of Private Health-Insurance Market

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D, Mass.) at a conference in Columbia, S.C., June 22, 2019. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) made clear during the Democratic primary debate Wednesday night that the “Medicare for all” plan she would advance if elected would result in the complete elimination of the private health-insurance market.

Warren was one of only two candidates on the debate stage in Miami to raise her hand when asked by moderator Lester Holt who would be willing to completely eradicate the private market in favor of a government-run system. She was joined only by New York City mayor Bill de Blasio.

“Look at the business model of an insurance company,” Warren said. “It’s to bring in as many dollars as they can in premiums and to pay out as few dollars as possible for your health care. That leaves families with rising premiums, rising copays and fighting with insurance companies to try to get the health care that their doctors say that they and their children need. Medicare for all solves that problem.”

Warren’s candid approach to removing more than 100 million Americans from their current insurance plan puts her at odds with her more centrist opponents, most of whom have called for making a public insurance option available to all Americans who want it, while leaving the private market intact.

“I’m just simply concerned about kicking half of America off of their health insurance in four years,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.), who endorsed a public option during the debate.

Warren endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders’s (I., Vt.) “Medicare for all” plan in April but has hedged on a number of occasions when asked about the viability of eliminating the private insurance market entirely.

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