Hillary Clinton cautions 2020 Dems that 'Medicare-for-all,' wealth tax would be 'disruptive'

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday expressed caution toward progressive policies some of the 2020 Democrats are championing including "Medicare-for-all" and a wealth tax, the latter of which she warned would be "incredibly disruptive."

Appearing at The New York Times DealBook Conference, the 2016 presidential candidate was asked to weigh in on Sen. Elizabeth Warren's "Medicare-for-all" plan in comparison to adding a "public option," a proposed aspect of ObamaCare that later was dropped.

"I think the debate within the Democratic Party is a very healthy debate to try to figure out how to achieve the goal of covering everybody with quality, affordable health care," Clinton began. "My view on this, having been working on it for many years now, is that the Affordable Care Act took us to 90 percent of coverage, the highest we have ever gotten in our country after many, many efforts... we have a 10-percent 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's possible to do so without undermining quality advancements."

The former New York senator claimed the "smarter approach" on health care was to "build on what we have," speaking highly of the public option.

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"I don't believe we should be in the midst of a big disruption while we are trying to get to 100-percent coverage and deal with costs and face some tough issues about competitiveness and other kinds of innovation in health care," the Democrat continued. "If you look at the 2018 election, you even look at the gains that were made by Democrats [on Tuesday's elections], the people who are saying, 'You know what, I am determined -- we're gonna get to universal coverage, we're going to get to a point where people can afford it, their premiums are not going to be skyrocketing, their deductibles are not going to be overwhelming, et cetera -- and here's the best way to do it.' That is, I think, the best position politically, and I also think it makes the most sense in terms of solving the problem."

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had words of warning for Democrats supporting "Medicare-for-all" and a wealth tax. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images, Montage)

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had words of warning for Democrats supporting "Medicare-for-all" and a wealth tax. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images, Montage)

When pressed if she could "get behind" Warren's plan, Clinton responded by expressing that it wouldn't pass in the Senate, but stressed that "the goal is the right goal."

Clinton continued, "The details will be litigated out in the campaign, maybe even in court, but certainly in the Congress, if somebody is successfully elected. And, I think it's important to say, what are the overall goals, and how realistic is it that we can achieve the overall goals if we go down Path A compared to Path B? And, I think the Affordable Care Act approach is the more likely path to be successful."

Clinton later was asked about the wealth tax that Warren has promoted. After admitting she didn't "know much" about the proposal, Clinton suggested it wasn't practical.

"I just don't understand how that could work, and I don't see other examples anywhere else in the world where it has actually worked over a long period of time," Clinton elaborated. "I would be all in favor of reinstating the estate tax because that is much more measurable. It is not as disruptive."

She went on, "If you were going to do a wealth tax and it was on assets... how you would value it is, I think, complicated to start with. But, assuming you can get some system of evaluation, people would literally have to sell assets to pay the tax on the assets that they owned before the wealth tax was levied. That would be incredibly disruptive, so I think there are other ways to raise the revenues."

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The former presidential candidate also insisted she would get behind whoever the Democrats nominated for president, no matter what. She also said she thought she knew "who it's likely to be."

Grinning, she added, "But I'm not gonna go there."