Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), running mate of Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden, suggested during an ABC News interview that aired on Sunday that eliminating private health insurance was one of the “great ideas” to fix problems in the health care system. Harris also blatantly lied about her past support for government-run health care.
“And you know I ask you this because you have pressure from the Left, you have pressure from the center, you’re trying to appeal to Republicans, and so on sort of the evolution on the issues when you talk about health care that you see eye to eye—do you see a day where private insurance would go away as you once proposed?” ABC News host David Muir asked.
“No, and in fact that my plan, when I was running, was that we would not eliminate private insurance,” Harris falsely claimed. “And Joe and I—”
“Even though you signed on for Medicare for All?” Muir asked.
“I signed on to that. I signed on to a number of bills that were about great ideas to fix the problem,” Harris claimed. “I want to fix the problem. And Joe has a plan to fix the problem, and I’m fully supportive of it.”
Harris was “the first Democrat to announce she’ll co-sponsor Sen. Bernie Sanders’ single-payer health care bill when it’s introduced in September,” CNN reported in 2017.
The New York Times reported in March 2019:
At the heart of the “Medicare for all” proposals championed by Senator Bernie Sanders and many Democrats is a revolutionary idea: Abolish private health insurance. …
But doing away with an entire industry would also be profoundly disruptive. The private health insurance business employs at least a half a million people, covers about 250 million Americans, and generates roughly a trillion dollars in revenues. Its companies’ stocks are a staple of the mutual funds that make up millions of Americans’ retirement savings. …
Senators Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Kamala Harris of California, and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts co-sponsored Mr. Sanders’s bill in the last Congress. …
The concept, in broad strokes, appeals to many Democratic voters. But overall support diminishes by a third or more when people are told that the plan would involve eliminating private insurance, raising taxes, or requiring waits to obtain medical care, according to surveys from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
During a debate in June 2019, the candidates were asked “Who here would abolish [employer-provided] health insurance in favor of a government-run plan?” Harris raised her hand but then tried to walk it back the next day.
In a 2019 NBC News report titled, “Kamala Harris wants to end private health insurance, a new Democratic litmus test,” NBC News highlighted remarks that Harris made during a town hall event.
“The idea is that everyone gets access to medical care, and you don’t have to go through the process of going through an insurance company, having them give you approval, going through the paperwork, all of the delay that may require,” Harris said. “Let’s eliminate all of that. Let’s move on.”
The next day, Harris again tried to walk back her remarks after facing backlash from other Democrats who said that they did not support it.
MUST WATCH: Kamala Harris saying that banning 180 MILLION Americans private health insurance is "a great idea." pic.twitter.com/oImpqnaeZ2
— Francis Brennan (@FrancisBrennan) August 24, 2020
Biden interrupted Muir as he questioned Harris on her past support for government-run health care, saying, “David, I think, if I can just interrupt for just a moment. The degree to which we disagreed in the primaries is—was on tactic. We both believe Medicare, health care is a right, not a privilege.”
Harris added: “Joe Biden and I are completely aligned on the goal: making sure everyone has health care, and it’s not a function of how much money they have in their back pocket. He and I have personal experiences with people we love deeply, who have gone through the health care system and who ultimately passed away, and, and that is a personal and in a very deep held belief that is based on a shared value that all people should have access to health care.”
This report has been updated to include additional information.