Andrew Yang Says Elizabeth Warren’s ‘Medicare For All’ Plan Is ‘Overly Optimistic’

Scott OlsonGetty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren recently released her “Medicare for All” plan, which has received criticism from some for using a Medicare head tax instead of a standard Medicare payroll tax, as the former reportedly affects middle- and low-income earners more than the latter. Others have suggested that the plan hinges on the success of too many things, such as immigration reform.

While on the campaign trail — video available on YouTube — Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang was asked about Warren’s new plan and how it will differ from his, which he says will be released in the “next number of days.”

“I was a little disappointed in the funding mechanism that Elizabeth has proposed. Where it just seems like a little bit of like a retroactive — it’s like, ‘Hey, I’m not gonna tax the middle class.’ ‘How are you gonna pay for it?’ ‘Ratchet up the wealth tax to extreme levels and then find some corporates that everyone dislikes and say, like, tax them.’ And I was like, ‘Wow, that seems like a little bit overly optimistic.'”

Yang pointed to his argument against the wealth tax, which he believes is “highly unlikely” to generate the revenue projected for Warren’s plan. The 44-year-old serial entrepreneur also suggested that Warren’s call for doubling her billionaire wealth tax from 3 percent to 6 percent is “even more unrealistically optimistic.”

During a recent CNN interview, Yang suggested that his healthcare plan will not eliminate private insurance. He claims that the goal of his plan — he has somewhat controversially adopted the “Medicare for All” label but not Bernie Sanders’ approach — is to show Americans that “private insurance is not what you need” and says his path forward will accomplish this goal without removing private insurance.

The debate over keeping or eliminating private insurance has become central to the healthcare debate, with Sanders’ “Medicare for All” bill used as the gold standard of comparison for other plans. Although Sanders’ plan does not outright ban private insurers, it doesn’t leave them much to cover — cosmetic surgery, for example, could be purchased through private insurance. His plan is similar to Canada’s healthcare system, although he goes a step further and includes services such as dental and vision care — paid via private insurance in Canada — as basic universal coverage.

According to Yang, the private insurance business model is harming families and businesses by continuing to increase prices year after year, although he highlighted that many Americans are content with their coverage. Regardless, Yang said he believes healthcare is a human right, and his upcoming healthcare plan will ensure every American has coverage.