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Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) speak during the Democratic presidential debate at the Fox Theatre July 30, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

'We Have a Better Way': Sanders Says His Plan to Finance Medicare for All 'Much More Progressive' Than Warren's

"The function of healthcare is to provide healthcare to all people, not to make $100 billion in profits for the insurance companies and the drug companies. Elizabeth Warren and I agree on that. We do disagree on how you fund it."

Jake Johnson

Sen. Bernie Sanders said Sunday that his plan to finance Medicare for All is "much more progressive" than the pay-for released last week by his 2020 Democratic presidential rival Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who called for a head tax on employers and new levies on the wealthy as key parts of her proposal to fund a comprehensive single-payer system.

In an interview with ABC News, Sanders warned Warren's proposed head tax—which she terms an "employer Medicare contribution"—could harm workers' wages and suppress job growth.

"I think the approach that [I] have, in fact, will be much more progressive in terms of protecting the financial well-being of middle income families."
—Sen. Bernie Sanders

"I think that that would probably have a very negative impact on creating those jobs, or providing wages, increased wages and benefits for those workers," Sanders said. "So I think we have a better way, which is a 7.5% payroll tax, which is far more I think progressive, because it'll not impact employers of low-wage workers but hit significantly employers of upper-income people."

"The function of healthcare is to provide healthcare to all people, not to make $100 billion in profits for the insurance companies and the drug companies," said the Vermont senator. "So, Elizabeth Warren and I agree on that. We do disagree on how you fund it. I think the approach that [I] have, in fact, will be much more progressive in terms of protecting the financial well-being of middle income families."

In a white paper (pdf) released in April after the introduction of the Medicare for All Act of 2019 in the Senate, Sanders proposed a 7.5% payroll tax on employers that would exempt the first $2 million in payroll "to protect small businesses."

On Friday, Matt Bruenig of the left-wing People's Policy Project think tank similarly argued that a payroll tax would be significantly more progressive than Warren's proposed head tax.

"Bernie may have a different vision of how to pay for it, but let's be really clear: Bernie and I are headed in exactly the same direction."
—Sen. Elizabeth Warren

"Under the 8 percent employer-side payroll tax, the employer taxes paid for a worker earning $15,000 per year is $1,200, while the employer taxes paid for a worker earning $200,000 per year is $16,000," Bruenig wrote. "Under the $9,500 employer-side head tax, the employer taxes paid is $9,500 for both workers."

Sanders' remarks to ABC were his first public comments on Warren's 9,000-word proposal. The Vermont senator said he spoke to Warren on the phone after she released her plan last Friday.

Asked about Sanders' criticism of her plan, Warren said Sunday that "Bernie may have a different vision of how to pay for it, but let's be really clear: Bernie and I are headed in exactly the same direction."

"And that is the $11 trillion that families are going to pay over the next 10 years in out-of-pocket medical costs will go away," said the Massachusetts senator. "Bernie and I, we're out there for strengthening America's middle class. I love it."


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'Yeah, And?': Ocasio-Cortez Embraces GOP Freakout Over Helping Women Skirt Abortion Bans

"Republicans are mad because I am sharing this information," said Rep. Ocasio-Cortez. "Too bad!"

Julia Conley ·


WATCH LIVE: Top Meadows Aide Cassidy Hutchinson Testifies at Surprise Jan. 6 Hearing

Hutchinson, who has spent more than 20 hours in deposition with the House panel, is expected to provide more damning evidence of the role that Meadows played in Trump's coup attempt.

Kenny Stancil ·


Oxfam Condemns G7 for Leaving 'Millions to Starve' as Global Hunger Surges

"Faced with the worst hunger crisis in a generation, the G7 have simply failed to take the action that is needed," said Max Lawson of Oxfam International.

Jake Johnson ·


'Horrific': 50 Migrants Found Dead in Abandoned Trailer Truck in Texas

"We need to end Title 42 and fix our broken immigration system so these unimaginable tragedies stop happening," said Rep. Chuy García. "People fleeing violence and poverty deserve a chance at a better life."

Jake Johnson ·


Harris Says White House Not 'Discussing' Use of Federal Land for Abortion Care

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are among the Democratic lawmakers who have expressed support for the idea as GOP-controlled states move to outlaw abortion.

Jake Johnson ·

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