Democrat Warren outlines three-year path to 'Medicare for All'

Pete Buttigieg campaign signs

Pete Buttigieg campaign signs

That's different than sticking fully with a "public option" over a government-run system, which is backed by Warren's more moderate presidential candidate rivals, including former Vice President Joe Biden.

"Every serious proposal for Medicare for All contemplates a significant transition period", Warren wrote in an online post. "My plan will be completed in my first term".

Warren's plan includes numerous provisions meant to reduce costs and complexity, including anti-corruption reforms, limits on lobbying and new rules governing drug prices.

Even as she continued to praise Medicare for All, though, Friday's announcement represented a move toward the political middle on an issue that has been one of the most important to voters in the Democratic primary - which begins February 3 in Iowa.

The two presidential candidates want universal healthcare through a single-payer program, significantly higher taxers on the wealthiest Americans, and the elimination of a vast majority - if not all - of Americans' student debt, among other progressive policies.

By the third year, Warren said, she would pass Medicare for All legislation that would allow only "supplemental private insurance that doesn't duplicate the benefits of Medicare for All". But some experts sharply criticized that proposal for far underestimating how much universal health care would really cost.

As part of her effort to lay out her plans to enact Medicare for All in greater detail, Senator Elizabeth Warren has now released a procedural timeline that makes it clear she will initially push legislation to open up Medicare to parts of the population without any direct interference with private insurance.

Whether or not her second-phase plans actually make any political sense, Warren's timetable shows she continues to have a more concrete "theory of change" about Medicare for All than Sanders, who vaguely expects a "political revolution" to magically make full enactment of his plan overnight, and other militant advocates.

Taking years to get to Medicare for All would give Warren time to convince people happy with their current, private insurance to accept a fully government-funded system.

Warren previously offered details on financing Medicare for All only after ducking questions about whether middle class tax increases would be needed to pay for weeks - including during the last two debates.

Some California Democrats speculate Biden is avoiding the crowd because it's made up of activists known to boo more centrist candidates, particularly those who don't support Medicare for All.

"Warren is trying to thread a very tricky political needle here", said Larry Levitt of the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for their Medicare for All plans. Still, Warren is essentially acknowledging the high degree of political difficulty that would be involved in getting Medicare for All through Congress - and the relatively low chances of success given that interest groups including employers, hospitals, drug companies and insurers will be arrayed against it. Warren's potent functionality at earlier campaign conventions, and her facial area-to-face meetings with activists, enticed numerous supporters.

She is also recognizing that incremental measures that progressives sometimes dismiss as not going far enough could have a real impact on people's lives. It found that an approach similar to Biden's would deliver about the same level of coverage as Sanders' plan. "Once millions have experienced the full benefits of a Medicare for All option and compared it to the corrupt and wasteful system we have today, the people will demand it", she said in a statement.

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