Hillary Clinton on Medicare for All: ‘The Goal Is the Right Goal,’ but It Won’t Pass

The 2016 Democratic nominee said she viewed two central policies embraced by the left in the 2020 primary — single-payer health care and a wealth tax — as unworkable or politically impractical.

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Hillary Clinton on Medicare for All: ‘The Goal Is the Right Goal,’ but It Won’t Pass

Hillary Clinton said Wednesday she hoped for a return to “boring, normal times” after the 2020 election, voicing skepticism of her party’s populist wing and predicting that Senator Elizabeth Warren’s proposal for single-payer health care would never get enacted.

At The New York Times DealBook conference in New York, Mrs. Clinton said she saw two of the biggest policies embraced by the left in the 2020 Democratic primary — “Medicare for all”-style health care and a tax on the assets of the very wealthy — as unworkable or politically impractical. She said Democrats should pursue the goal of universal health coverage, but through other means.

A longtime leader of her party’s moderate wing, Mrs. Clinton was most blunt about Ms. Warren’s proposal to replace private health insurance with a single-payer system funded largely by taxes on the wealthy and corporations. Asked if she thought that proposal could get passed into law, Mrs. Clinton answered in the negative.

“No, I don’t — I don’t,” she said. “But the goal is the right goal.”

Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton on Medicare for All: ‘The Goal Is the Right Goal,’ but It Won’t Pass

Mrs. Clinton did not criticize either Ms. Warren or Senator Bernie Sanders, the liberal populist who challenged Mrs. Clinton in the 2016 primary and who also supports Medicare for all, in harsh or personal terms. But she suggested that the approach to health care favored by both was misguided, saying that “the smarter approach is to build on what we have” by adding the option of a public health care plan to the offerings of the Affordable Care Act.

It is not a surprising preference for Mrs. Clinton: In the 2016 campaign, she supported introducing a public health insurance option but consistently rejected Mr. Sanders’s calls for single-payer health care.

Speaking on Thursday at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, N.C., Ms. Warren was asked about Mrs. Clinton’s remarks.

“I’m saying, you don’t get what you don’t fight for,” she said in response. “You know, you’ve got to be willing to get out there and fight.”

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