How Warren could pay for Medicare for All

Taxing the wealthy won’t cover the trillions in cost. Raising taxes on the middle class is a political third rail. Other options, like reducing health care benefits or raising payroll taxes are also politically dicey.

Small wonder then that the top-tier Democrat — whose motto is that she has a plan for everything — doesn’t have one yet for how to pay for universal health care. She and other Medicare for All supporters have argued that it doesn’t make sense to fixate on costs with basic questions, like how much doctors would earn, still unknown.

“You could say … that we’re spending about $3.5 trillion on health care now and we’re going to move that all onto the federal tab, but I think that’s a little too simplistic,” House Budget Chairman John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), a longtime supporter of single-payer health care, said earlier this year.

But with Warren’s primary rivals pressuring her for details, lawmakers, health policy experts and academics say she has several credible options for paying to extend government health insurance to all Americans.