"Late Show" host Stephen Colbert had Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in the hot seat on Thursday night and quizzed him on whether the middle class will face tax hikes to fund Medicare-for-all similarly to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.
"Senator Warren was on here last week and I asked her about her plans for Medicare-for-all and I'm going to ask you the question that I asked her... at the risk of being accused of trumpeting Republican talking points," Colbert warned Sanders. "Is there an increase in taxes on the middle class to pay for Medicare-for-all, or rather, where would the tax burden go to pay for that?"
"Under my legislation... nobody in America will pay any more premiums," Sanders responded. "No more co-payments, gone. No more out-of-pocket expenses, gone. Nobody will go bankrupt... because of medical bills, that is gone. Nobody in America under my bill will pay more than $200 a year in total for their prescription drugs."
"Now having said that, is health care free? No, it is not," the 2020 hopeful continued. "So what we do is exempt the first $29,000 of a person's income... Above that, in a progressive way with the wealthiest people paying the largest percentage, people do pay more in taxes."
Last week, Colbert attempted to ask Warren the same question, but struggled to get a direct answer from her.
“You keep being asked in the debates how are you going to pay for it, are you going to be raising the middle-class taxes… How are you going to pay for it? Are you going to be raising the middle-class taxes?” Colbert asked.
“So, here’s how we’re going to do this,” Warren responded. “Costs are going to go up for the wealthiest Americans, for big corporations… and hard-working middle-class families are going to see their costs going down.”
“But will their taxes go up?” Colbert pressed.
“But, here’s the thing,” Warren said.
“But, here’s the thing,” Colbert grinningly interrupted. “I’ve listened to these answers a few times before and I just want to make a parallel suggestion to you that you might defend the taxes perhaps that you’re not mentioning in your sentence.”
He continued by sharing his “parallel suggestion”: “Isn’t Medicare-for-all like public school? There might be taxes for it, but you certainly save a lot of money sending your kids to school and do you want to live in a world where your kids aren’t educated? Do you want to live in a world where your fellow citizens are dying, even if it costs a little bit of money?”