Fox News Anchor: Elizabeth Warren 'Disqualified Herself' to a Lot of Voters by Supporting Medicare-for-All

Fox News co-anchor Melissa Francis claimed presidential candidate and Senator Elizabeth Warren "disqualified herself" in a lot of Americans' eyes by fully backing healthcare reform known as "Medicare-for-all" during Wednesday's first 2020 Democratic presidential primary debate.

Francis made the comment during a panel discussion Thursday on Fox News' Outnumbered. The group was discussing how Warren, of Massachusetts, was one of only two candidates (the other being New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio) in Wednesday's 10-person debate that said they would give up their own private insurance in favor of Medicare-for-all.

"She [Warren] is surging in the polls and I thought that was very interesting that she did that," Francis said. "Because I think for a lot of Americans, she disqualified herself. When you say they're going to repeal and replace your health insurance that you get from your employer, with Medicaid or whatever folks are getting at the VA [Veteran Affairs] — I know some people are happy with what they get at the VA, some people are very unhappy — when you say that, wow!"

Senator Elizabeth Warren
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) speaks during the first night of the Democratic presidential debate on June 26 in Miami, Florida Joe Raedle/Getty

The anchor then argued that the general idea of expanded Medicare was not feasible. "Medicare-for-all doesn't exist. We can't afford it," she asserted.

Warren has become one of the leading proponents of universal healthcare, often referred to as Medicare-for-all. She and fellow 2020 presidential contender independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont have co-sponsored legislation, which they say would ensure all Americans have access to high quality and affordable healthcare.

Critics have argued that such a proposal would be exorbitantly costly and also lower the quality of healthcare nationwide. But proponents like Warren and Sanders have disagreed, putting forward proposals to cover the costs by increasing taxes on the wealthiest Americans. Others have raised concerns about all Americans being forced to give up their private insurance for a new government alternative.

About 150 million Americans, or roughly have of the country's population, currently get health insurance through the companies they work for. The legislation put forward by Warren and Sanders would move all of these people to the government alternative within just a few years. Supporters of universal healthcare will have to win over those Americans who are either happy with their current health insurance or wary of government-provided coverage.

Bernie Sanders anad Elizabeth Warren
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) pats Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) on the back during an event about healthcare on September 13, 2017 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Alex Wong/Getty

Addressing concerns about Medicare-for-all, Warren took aim at the current model under private insurance companies.

"Look at the business model of an insurance company. It's to bring in as many dollars as they can in premiums and to pay out as few dollars as possible for your health care," she said at Wednesday's debate. "That leaves families with rising premiums, rising co-pays, and fighting with insurance companies to try to get the health care that their doctors say that they and their children need."

"Medicare-for-all solves that problem," the senator asserted. "There are a lot of politicians who say, 'Oh, it's just not possible, we just can't do it,' have a lot of political reasons for this. What they're really telling you is they just won't fight for it. Well, health care is a basic human right, and I will fight for basic human rights."

A number of polls have shown increased support for universal, or single-payer, health insurance in recent years. According to Kaiser Family Foundation data, overall support for this concept has risen from 50 percent in 2016 to around 56 percent in April 2019. A KFF survey released in January found that, overall, 74 percent of Americans were in favor of a Medicare-for-all plan that was optional and would allow people to keep their private insurance if they wanted to.

The opinions on Medicaid-for-all changed when respondents were presented with more detailed aspects of what it could entail. For example, when expressed as a plan that would "Guarantee health insurance as a right for all Americans," only 26 percent opposed the idea. But if it were to eliminate private health insurance companies, objections rose significantly to 58 percent. Similarly, 60 percent opposed the concept if it would "Require most Americans to pay more in taxes."