Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) has been dodgy on whether her “Medicare For All” plan would abolish private insurance. Now her spokesman has confirmed that it likely would.
On Tuesday, Washington Examiner executive editor Phil Klein published an article that explained Harris’ MFA plan (which was actually proposed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders) would prohibit private insurance from covering any benefits that would be covered by the government plan. Included in the list are common benefits like hospital services, prescription drug coverage, and pediatrics. It’s a pretty long list:
As Klein wrote, Harris is not making the argument that people would lose their private coverage but gain better coverage from the government (which wouldn’t be possible anyway).
“Even if she’d face blowback for such a position, at least it would be intellectually consistent,” Klein wrote. “But that is not her current position. She claims that she opposes eliminating private coverage because there would still be a role for ‘supplemental’ plans.”
Based on the list provided by Klein that is pulled directly from the Sanders plan, which Harris backs, private insurance would only be able to cover things like plastic surgery, which The Washington Post’s fact-checker said doesn’t make a lot of sense.
“That’s elective surgery generally not covered by health insurance. But insurance is purchased to defray costs for unexpected health problems. Who buys (or sells) insurance for the unexpected nose job or facelift? You can buy insurance for complications from cosmetic surgery, but that’s not going to be an especially large business,” the Post wrote, without awarding any Pinocchios.
When Klein tweeted out the list, Harris’ spokesman Ian Sams responded by saying, “Because they’ll be covered by everyone’s Medicare for All?”
For Harris, this has been one of her biggest struggles as a candidate. A recent poll from CNN found that just 21% of Americans want a national health insurance program from the government to completely replace private health insurance. Complicating matters for Harris (and Sanders, though he is consistent in calls to abolish private health insurance) is a recent report from Bloomberg explaining that “the 181 million taxpayers with employer-sponsored coverage could miss out on the benefits of the Sanders[-Harris] plan, and even those receiving Medicaid could pay more, according to health-care policy experts on both sides of the political spectrum.”
The Bloomberg report also cautioned that the tax increase the plan would need to provide the benefits would outweigh the average Americans’ health costs.
Harris hasn’t remained consistent on the issue, as The Daily Wire previously reported. In January, Harris told CNN’s Jake Tapper that we should “eliminate” the “process of going through an insurance company, having them give you approval, going through the paperwork, all of the delay that may require.” Her response was taken to mean eliminating all private insurance.
Months later, Harris said she was only referring to the “bureaucracy” of the process. At the first Democrat primary debate in late June, Harris raised her hand when asked if she would “abolish” private health insurance and replace it with a government-run plan. After the debate, she said she understood the question to mean that she would give up her personal insurance for a government plan.