As Elizabeth Warren prepares to release her plan to pay for Medicare for All, a new Morning Consult poll finds that she trails Bernie Sanders by 13 percentage points among Democratic voters asked to rate how honest the candidates have been on health costs.
Sanders has said that Medicare for All proposal would require higher taxes on the middle class but he insists that overall health spending would fall for the overwhelming majority of Americans as premiums, deductibles and co-payments are eliminated. Warren has refused to directly answer repeated questions about whether middle-class taxes would rise. Instead, she, like Sanders, has emphasized that overall costs would go down.
Democratic voters may not find that argument compelling, though. While a large majority of Democratic voters support a system where all Americans get their health insurance from the government, only 48% said they’d support a plan that would require the middle class to pay higher taxes, even if those taxes are offset by overall savings on health care costs.
“Whether Elizabeth Warren wins this debate or not hinges solely on how good of a teacher she is,” Jonathan Gruber, an economist at MIT and an architect of the Affordable Care Act, told Morning Consult. “Can she teach people that replacing a hidden tax by a non-hidden tax doesn’t really cost you money? No one has ever been able to do that in my lifetime. If anyone can fix it, it’s Elizabeth Warren, but it’s a challenge she faces.”
The poll also found that Joe Biden (25%) leads both Sanders (20%) and Warren (18%) among Democrats asked which candidate is most qualified to handle health care.
The survey of 1,996 registered voters, including 771 Democrats, was conducted October 16 to 21 and has a margin of error of 2 percentage points (or 3 points for the Democratic subsample).