Harris’s Health Care Plan to Keep Private Insurance

Senator Kamala Harris disclosed details of her health care plan on Monday that would retain the role of private insurance companies, The Hill reported.

Harris’s new health care plan would signify an abandonement of the system “Medicare for All,” a plan that has been loved by progressives and several other 2020 candidates, which would largely eliminate private insurance.

“We will allow private insurers to offer Medicare plans as part of this system that adhere to strict Medicare requirements on costs and benefits,” Harris wrote in a Medium post published Monday detailing her plan. “Medicare will set the rules of the road for these plans, including price and quality, and private insurance companies will play by those rules, not the other way around.”

Harris, who is a co-sponsor of “Medicare for all,” has waffled on whether she would eliminate private insurance. 

In last month’s Democratic debate, Harris raised her hand to signify that her health care plan would eliminate private insurance, but she said the next day she misunderstood the question. 

Health care has become a central issue in the 2020 Democratic race for the White House with the left flank of the party pushing hard for candidates to back Medicare for All, which would transition the U.S. to a single-payer health care system run by the government. 

But it’s become an easy target by moderate Democrats and Republicans who argue Medicare for all is too expensive and would eliminate the private insurance plans polls show people like. 

Harris’s plan calls for transitioning to a Medicare for All system over a 10-year period. During that time, infants and the uninsured would automatically be placed into the system while other people would have the option to buy into the government-backed health care plan.

The transition period in Harris’s plan is longer than the four-year plan laid out by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in Medicare for All. 

Harris’s plan also does not raise middle-class taxes, another difference from Sanders’s proposal.

Under Harris’s plan, taxes would not increase for the middle class while Sanders would tax all households making more than $29,000 an additional 4 percent, a point the Vermont Senator acknowledged during the first debate. Harris’s proposal would not tax families making less than $100,000.

“This isn’t about pursuing an ideology,” Harris wrote in the Medium post. “This is about delivering for the American people.”

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