Accuracy in Media

CNN and the New York Times co-hosted and moderated this month’s Democratic Party presidential debate, held in Ohio, which covered various topics ahead of the 2020 primaries. The debate took place at an opportune time, as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has been surging in recent polls in an attempt to unseat front-runner and former vice president Joe Biden.

However, Warren’s proposed version of “Medicare for All” came under fire during the course of the debate. CNN’s moderators did an adequate job in badgering Warren to give a straight and clear answer on her plan. Warren has avoided giving a price tag for her “Medicare for All,” and both CNN moderators and other Democratic Party candidates challenged her on it.

Moderators asked Warren a question requiring a “yes” or a “no” answer, but she did not respond affirmatively to the question. As NPR reported, Warren pivoted to talking points on how her proposed plan will lower total costs of health insurance for middle-class Americans and that the wealthy will pay the majority for “Medicare for All.”

South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg criticized Warren on the debate stage for her answer, saying, “Well, we heard it tonight — a yes-or-no question that didn’t get a yes-or-no answer.” He later added that Warren’s plan would ultimately eliminate private insurance, which is what many Americans do not want. He said, “I don’t think the American people are wrong when they say that what they want is a choice.”

Even Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) admitted that the middle class could pay a tax under his “Medicare for All” plan, although he is looking for ways to mitigate those effects. NPR reported that Sanders “has floated the idea of a 4% tax on all Americans making over $29,000 per year as one way to pay for it, along with taxes on the rich.”

But Warren refused to acknowledge Sanders’s point that the wealthy cannot pay for all or most of America’s health care costs and the CNN-moderated debate exposed the problems surrounding Warren’s plan. Kudos to CNN and its moderators in their attempt to create transparency surrounding one of Warren’s key campaign platforms, “Medicare for All,” although Warren skirted the question.

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