Taxes are the least of Elizabeth Warren’s ‘Medicare for All’ problems

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks during a town hall event September 19, 2019 in Iowa City, Iowa.

Joshua Lott | Getty Images

But even if Warren added more funding details and strengthened her public responses to questions about taxes, all of these government-funded health coverage plans from Medicare for All to Obamacare continue to have a bigger problem.

It contrasts starkly from Warren’s otherwise unapologetic and enthusiastic campaign. Her continued gains in the polls come as little surprise to those who have been following her across the country and seeing how excited and motivated her supporters are compared to her Democratic rivals.

Just as Warren is establishing herself as an energetic and unapologetic standard bearer for liberal progressives, she seems to be choking on the chance to overtake Joe Biden as the front runner.

If you’re wondering why all the focus seems to be on Warren’s performance on TV and not as much on the actual Medicare for All plan, you’re on the right track when it comes to what really matters in American presidential campaigns.

It’s a bit of an ugly secret many of us do not admit about ourselves. But the fact is, we’re more likely to decide who to vote for based on a candidate’s personality and persuasiveness. We’re less likely to choose a candidate based on his or her policies.

There’s lots of academic research backing up this premise, but the best and more entertaining explanation of how we make our voting choices was laid out in Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams’ 2017 book, Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don’t Matter.

Before anyone decries how unfair it is that personal persuasiveness outweighs policy details in political campaigning, it’s important to note that Warren only has herself to blame on the policy side as well. That’s because she hasn’t really released her Medicare for All plan details anyway.

But even if Warren added more funding details and strengthened her public responses to questions about taxes, all of these government-funded health coverage plans from Medicare for All to Obamacare continue to have a bigger problem.

We can quibble about how they’ll be paid for; we all know higher taxes or heavier borrowing will be needed at some point. But no one seems to be focusing on the supply side.

Whether you believe healthcare is a human right or a privilege, someone needs to provide that care. Critics can bash Warren for leaving out funding details from her plan, but where are the details in plans from Senators Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris when it comes to providing more doctors, nurses, hospitals, and other facilities for the growing demand for healthcare that will surely come from a Medicare for All plan?

Warren’s moment to squander

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