News & Politics

Bernie Sanders Still Won't Explain How He'll Pay for Medicare for All

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a Democratic presidential primary debate Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

The Hill reports that Bernie Sanders “is facing mounting scrutiny from fellow White House hopefuls for refusing to detail how he would pay for his signature ‘Medicare for All’ plan.” Sanders appears to have the most momentum leading up to the Iowa caucuses, and clearly that has put Sanders in the crosshairs of his primary opponents.

“As one of the leaders of the effort for Medicare for All said, ‘I don’t know how much it’s going to cost, I don’t know what it’s going to be, we’re just going to have to do it,’ ” former Vice President Joe Biden told an Iowa crowd on Monday, referring to Sanders but without naming him. “Well, that’s not a likely way to pass something through the Senate, saying, ‘I don’t know how much it’s going to cost.’ ”

Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a top contender with Biden among the more moderate candidates, joined in the criticism on Monday.

“Call me simplistic, but I think when you put forward a plan, you ought to put forward how to pay for it, too,” Buttigieg told reporters when asked about Sanders. “And it is striking that there’s been no explanation of how this is supposed to work when it could be one of the biggest things done to the American economy in a generation.”

Bernie Sanders has refused to explain how he will pay for his plan. The best we’ve ever heard from him is that he’ll tax the rich… which is his go-to answer for how he’ll pay for all of his agenda. Politically speaking, being mum on the details of how he plans to pay for his plan is arguably smart. After Elizabeth Warren tried to explain how she’d pay for her Medicare for all plan she found herself diving in the polls. Bernie Sanders’s supporters aren’t concerned with the details, just the concepts, and Bernie plays to that very well, presenting Medicare for all and other aspects of his agenda as moral imperatives that should be passed before we even see what they are or figure out how much they’ll cost. Democrats don’t want realistic solutions, they want the moral high-ground. Just like the $15 minimum wage movement pats itself on the back for promoting higher wages for the working class, they turn a blind eye to the realities of the policy: fewer hours for workers, and/or lost jobs.

Sanders has so far avoided the same level of scrutiny as Warren for her Medicare for all plan. Whether he can avoid it much longer remains to be seen.


Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis