Stephen Colbert offered Sen. Elizabeth Warren Tuesday on CBS's "The Late Show" some advice about how to frame her Medicare For All proposal: "I've listened to these answers a few times before and I just — I just want to make a parallel suggestion for you about how you might defend the taxes that perhaps you're not mentioning in your sentence. Is that, isn't Medicare for All like public school?"
"There might be taxes for it, but you certainly save a lot of money on sending your kids to school and do you want to live in a world where kids aren't educated? Do you want to live in a world where your fellow citizens are dying, even if it costs a little bit of money?"
STEPHEN COLBERT: We're here with Presidential Candidate, Senator Elizabeth Warren. When I say you look back, I don't mean that you're backward thinking. I'm trying to say that there were certain things that were gained in the 20th century that you are proposing that we go back to, that people are calling radical, but they are actually, they used to be taken for granted.
ELIZABETH WARREN: Yeah.
COLBERT: The most radical thing that you are proposing is Medicare for All.
WARREN: Uh-huh. You think that's the most radical? I kind of like the two cent wealth tax myself, but yeah I like them all. I'll take them all. But I'm big on Medicare for All.
COLBERT: I think the two cent wealth tax is nothing compared to the 90 percent top tax bracket that happened, that was during the Eisenhower administration.
COLBERT: So that's not as radical as that was before. But there hasn't been Medicare for All before. You keep being asked in the debates, how are you going to pay for it? Are you going to raise the middle class taxes?
COLBERT: How are you going to pay for it? Are you going to raise the middle class taxes?
WARREN: So, here's how we are going to do this, costs are going to go up for the wealthiest Americans, for big corporations —
COLBERT: Taxes is what you mean by cost?
WARREN: — yeah and hard-working, middle class families are going to see their costs go down. And —
COLBERT: But will their taxes go up?
WARREN: — well, but here's the thing..
COLBERT: No, but, here's the thing, I've listened to these answers a few times before and I just — I just want to make a parallel suggestion for you about how you might defend the taxes that perhaps you're not mentioning in your sentence. Is that, isn't Medicare for All like public school?
WARREN: See, you know, I actually —
COLBERT: There might be taxes for it, but you certainly save a lot of money on sending your kids to school and do you want to live in a world where kids aren't educated? Do you want to live in a world where your fellow citizens are dying, even if it costs a little bit of money?
WARREN: — so I accept your point and I believe in your point. Health care is a basic human right. We fight for basic human rights, and that's Medicare for All. Everyone gets covered, but here's how I look at it. I’ve spent a big chunk of my career studying why families go broke and a big reason that families go broke is health care and even today, people with insurance are going broke over a bad medical diagnosis and people are getting stretched financially. Why? Well, first you’ve got high premiums and then you've got that co-pay. You need to go to the doctor, you have a co-pay. Oh, and for the insurance company says, “I'm sorry, we're not going to cover that doctor. Not in network.” And then for the specialist that you need to see that the insurance company says, “No, you don't need to see the specialist.” And for the extra physical therapy and for going to the pharmacy and that drug is not covered and this one has a high co-pay. Families are paying and paying and paying and a big part of the reason they're paying is because the insurance company have set up their business model. And their model is, rake in as much money as you can in premiums, and then say no as often as you can to health care coverage and the consequence of that is they pulled $23 billion out of the system last year. They imposed costs on everyone else with all the forms that had to be filled out and people arguing over could they get this covered or that covered? This is not a sustainable health care system. I am so deeply grateful to President Obama who moved this country to say, “We, as a country, want every person here to have health care coverage.” And now it's time to take the next step and say “let's do that in the most effective way possible” and what every study shows is that Medicare for All is the cheapest way to do that and it's the way to make sure that those who have more will pay more, but that hardworking families will pay less. Nobody has to go bankrupt over health care if we get Medicare for All.