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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Sen. Elizabeth Warren's newly released plan to pay for Medicare for All leaves the middle class financially better off than they are today, but it's not true to say that they won't pay for it at all, experts say.

Between the lines: Employers will directly pay for Medicare for All, and economists predict that this will get passed onto workers through reduced wages — just as employers' costs for private health insurance are passed on today.

Warren's plan, released this morning, would take aggressive health care cost containment measures, lowering its price tag to the federal government.

  • But she still needs to raise $20.5 trillion over a decade — which she says she does with "not one penny in middle-class tax increases."

Reality check: This becomes an issue of semantics. It's true that the middle class won't directly pay any new taxes. And they won't have to pay the individual premiums and out-of-pocket costs that they pay now.

  • But Warren would redirect the trillions of dollars projected to be spent by employers on private health insurance into Medicare for All contributions — which would be collected as taxes.
  • These employers currently pay a portion of workers' premiums, but it's widely assumed by economists that workers ultimately pay for these costs through lower wages.
  • So whether employers are paying a premium contribution or a tax — and Warren's plan is designed for the shift to slightly save money for employers — it's assumed that employees ultimately bear the cost.
  • However, the $11 trillion over 10 years that Americans are expected to pay in individual premium contributions and out-of-pocket spending would disappear, leaving the middle class ultimately better off.

Yes, but: There's plenty of skepticism about Warren's math and some of her revenue streams.

  • And whether her plan would actually improve the health care system — especially in the way she would squeeze various payments to health care industries — is another question. Subscribe to Axios Vitals for more on that on Monday.

Go deeper: Warren releases Medicare for All plan

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

Fauci: COVID vaccine rollout needs to prioritize people of color

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci highlighted the need to address racial disparities in the COVID-19 vaccination process, per an interview with The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.

What he’s saying: "I think that's the one thing we really got to be careful of. We don't want in the beginning ... most of the people who are getting it are otherwise, well, middle-class white people."

The Mischief Makers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Several Republican and Democratic lawmakers are emerging as troublemakers within their parties and political thorns for their leadership.

Why it matters: We're calling this group "The Mischief Makers" — members who threaten to upend party unity — the theme eclipsing Washington at the moment — and potentially jeopardize the Democrats' or Republicans' position heading into the 2022 midterms.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Obama speechwriter fears Biden unity drive is one-sided

Cody Keenan (right) is shown heading to Marine One in December 2009. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Obama's former speechwriter says he's "preemptively frustrated" with President Biden's effort to find unity with Republicans.

What they're saying: Cody Keenan told Axios that Biden's messaging team has "struck all the right chords," but at some point "they're gonna have to answer questions like, 'Why didn't you achieve unity?' when there's an entire political party that's already acting to stop it."