The issue that Obama alums think could doom Elizabeth Warren

The Warren stump speech is simple, concise, and unchanging. She identifies three big problems and proposes three big plans: “corruption,” which she will tackle with an anti-lobbying package; inequality, which she will attack with a wealth tax that funds her education and child care programs; and the decline of democracy, which, among other things, she would attempt to fix by asking the Senate to relinquish the filibuster.

There is one issue that she doesn’t dwell on: Medicare for All. The enormously expensive (some $30 trillion), difficult to pay for (she’s already spent the wealth tax on other things), and politically dangerous (polls show Democratic support declining) plan that would make health care a basic right in America has been like an asteroid hurtling toward the Warren campaign. There’s still time to get out of the way but there’s also a chance it might blow up her campaign.

Much of the recent focus on Warren and Medicare has been about how she will pay for the plan, which would replace the private health insurance that currently covers two-thirds of Americans. It is by far the most expensive proposal in Warren’s long list of plans, but she has been silent on how she will fund it. As she rose in the polls not having a plan became a major liability.

“I have a lot of respect for Sen. Warren,” said Pete Buttigieg the day after the Ohio debate, in perhaps the most stinging line of the campaign. “But last night she was more specific and forthcoming about the number of selfies she’s taken than about how this plan is going to be funded. And that’s a real problem.” Warren agreed and quickly promised to provide more details very soon.

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