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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Austin, Texas, on Sunday. Photo: Gary Miller/Getty Images

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said during the DealBook conference in New York on Wednesday she doesn't believe 2020 candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren's Medicare for All plan would ever be enacted.

"The smarter approach is to build on what we have; a public option is something I've been in favor of for a very long time. I don't believe we should be in the midst of a big disruption while we are trying to get to 100% coverage and deal with costs."

What she's saying: During the event in New York, Clinton said in response to a question on whether she could "get behind" the plan, "If it were to go to Senate ... if you had a president who pushed to present it, I would be very much in favor of whatever the debate was."

  • The 2016 Democratic presidential candidate added that while she doesn't think it would pass, it was the "right goal" and the current health care debate among Democrats is healthy.
  • "The Affordable Care Act took us to 90% of coverage — the highest we had ever gotten in our country after many, many efforts including one I was involved in more than 25 years ago," Clinton said.
"We have a 10% gap to fill and we have a lot of learning to do about the best way not only to fill the gap, but then to drive down costs as much as it is possible without undermining quality advancements."

Why it matters: Clinton is the latest in a line of current and former officials and lawmakers to question how workable Warren's plan would be in practice. Warren has faced criticism from her closest Democratic presidential rivals and others on the issue of cost to taxpayers.

  • Per Axios' Caitlin Owens, "We've never tried any cost containment measures that are remotely close to being as aggressive as Warren's, and there could be consequences if payment rates are slashed so low."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

48 mins ago - Health

U.S. surpasses 25 million COVID cases

A mass COVID-19 vaccination site at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 22 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The U.S has confirmed more than 25 million coronavirus cases, per Johns Hopkins data updated on Sunday.

The big picture: President Biden has said he expects the country's death toll to exceed 500,000 people by next month, as the rate of deaths due to the virus continues to escalate.

GOP implosion: Trump threats, payback

Spotted last week on a work van in Evansville, Ind. Photo: Sam Owens/The Evansville Courier & Press via Reuters

The GOP is getting torn apart by a spreading revolt against party leaders for failing to stand up for former President Trump and punish his critics.

Why it matters: Republican leaders suffered a nightmarish two months in Washington. Outside the nation’s capital, it's even worse.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
5 hours ago - Economy & Business

The limits of Biden's plan to cancel student debt

Data: New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax; Chart: Axios Visuals

There’s a growing consensus among Americans who want President Biden to cancel student debt — but addressing the ballooning debt burden is much more complicated than it seems.

Why it matters: Student debt is stopping millions of Americans from buying homes, buying cars and starting families. And the crisis is rapidly getting worse.

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