Stephen Colbert Gets Bernie Sanders to Answer the Question Elizabeth Warren Refused


Late Show host Stephen Colbert succeeded in getting Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders to answer a question that Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren conspicuously evaded last week, namely whether Medicare for All will result in tax increases for the middle class.

On Thursday night’s broadcast, Colbert referenced Warren’s appearance last week, in which the host called out her consistent refusal to directly say whether her health care plan would raise taxes on the middle class.

“Senator Warren was on here last week, and I asked her about her plans for Medicare for all, and I’m going to ask you the question that I asked her, at the risk of being accused of trumpeting Republican talking points,” Colbert said, a reference to Sanders’ accusation of Jake Tapper during a July debate.

“Is there an increase in taxes on the middle class to pay for Medicare for All, or rather, where would the tax burden go to pay for that?” Colbert asked.

Sanders began by saying that under his plan, “nobody in America will pay any more premiums, just talked to a woman the other day who pays $1700 a month, $20,000 a year, gone. No more co-payments, gone, no more out-of-pocket expenses, gone, nobody will go bankrupt.”

He described the plan’s savings on prescription drugs as well, then said what Warren wouldn’t.

“Now having said that, is healthcare free? No, it is not,” Sanders said. “So what we do is exempt the first $29,000 of a person’s income, you make less than 29,000, you pay nothing in taxes. Above that, in a progressive way, with the wealthiest people in this country paying the largest percentage, people do pay more in taxes.”

He then gave an example in which $20,000 in premiums are replaced by a tax of $10,000, which he said means “you’re $10,000 to the good, you would ask me where do I sign up for that?”

But the 150 million people with employer-sponsored health insurance pay an average of $1400 a year in premiums and $800 a year in out-of-pocket costs. And even individual plans average a little over $5000 a year in premiums without subsidies — which families earning less than 100,000 a year qualify for.

Sanders went on to explain that his plan will also cover  “dental care, hearing aids, and eyeglasses, and home health care as well. So we cover mental illness, we cover all basic healthcare needs.”

Sanders has been consistent in acknowledging the taxes that will be required to pay for his plan, something Warren has not done. Last week, former Vice President Joe Biden called Warren out during a rally, saying she needs to be “straightforward” about how her plan will be funded.

Watch Sander’s response above, via CBS.

Have a tip we should know?

Filed Under: