Warren health plan departs from US 'social insurance' idea

Warren's plan to tax the rich for 'Medicare for All' departs from US tradition of 'social insurance'

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Elizabeth Warren's plan to pay for "Medicare for All" without raising middle-class taxes departs from how the U.S. has traditionally financed bedrock programs.

Experts say that might impact its political viability.

The Massachusetts Democrat is echoing her party's longstanding call for universal health care. Warren proposes to raise most of the additional $20.5 trillion her campaign believes would be needed by taxing businesses, wealthy people and investors.

That's different from the "social insurance" — or shared responsibility— idea of Democratic presidents like Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman and Lyndon Baines Johnson. They relied on broad-based taxes packaged as "contributions," fostering a sense of ownership.

The Warren campaign says Social Security and Medicare are popular because the benefits are broadly shared, not so much the responsibility of paying for them.