After months of inconsistency on the issue, Democratic presidential candidate and California senator Kamala Harris released her Medicare for All plan, clarifying that she does not support the total elimination of private insurance plans.
During the first Democratic debate, Harris raised her hand when asked if her health care plan would eliminate private insurance. Cory Booker, N.Y. Sen.
Biden, 76, leads Massachusetts Sen.
Harris had co-sponsored Sanders's Medicare for All legislation that would collapse all insurance into one government plan, though she has at times tripped up when asked to defend that position and has repeatedly expressed discomfort with the idea of ending private insurance.
Here are how some key elements of the Harris proposal match up.
The core political problem for Medicare for All is that a large number of Americans now have employer-sponsored health plans that they like, and Medicare for All would eliminate many of those plans and force those Americans into government-run insurance.
"Instead of completely replacing private coverage with a government-run, single-payer system based on traditional Medicare", the New York Times reported, "Ms. Harris would allow people to choose plans modeled on Medicare Advantage, which would be run not by the government but by private insurers".
That's a big difference from Sanders' plan, under which any insurance that duplicates the coverage provided by his Medicare for All system would be banned.
"We Can't Afford NOT to Change the System", Harris says.
Harris has faced questions and criticism over her plan to pay for the proposed health care overhaul. "If not, they have to get out", Harris is expected to write in a post on the online publishing platform Medium.
"O$3 ne of Senator Sanders' options is to tax households making above $29,000 an additional 4% income-based premium".
That's why I propose that we exempt households making below $100,000, along with a higher income threshold for middle-class families living in high-cost areas. To pay for this change, Ms. Harris' plan would tax stock trades at 0.2 percent, bond trades at 0.1 percent and derivative transactions at 0.002 percent.
Under her proposal, Americans could opt for Medicare Advantage, a program that allows beneficiaries to get coverage from a private insurer. "And the bottom line is that health care just costs too much".
Echoing Lighty's critique, Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) president Adam Gaffney called the reliance on private insurance the "major deficiency at the heart of Harris' healthcare plan".
The 10-year transition also allows her to hide the true cost of the plan. However, their overall health eclipses Americans'.
Health care consistently ranks as a top issue for voters, particularly Democrats, and the 2020 debate illustrates a broader fight within the party. Sanders estimates that his plan could cost up to $40 trillion over a decade.
Harris calls her plan "Medicare for All", but it's not even close. And, of course: could it pass Congress? Michael F. Bennet's Medicare X bill, which would create a public option - she will now have to account for her shifting outlook about private insurance. In January, in response to a question at a CNN town hall about private insurance, she said she wanted to "eliminate all of that". Unlike the Sanders proposal, it preserves a role for private insurers.
Biden had the support of 34 percent of Democratic women, compared to 15 percent for Warren. Although healthcare reform is amenable to nearly infinite variation, it's facile to describe the distinctions between Democratic or progressive reform plans as though they're driving the party apart or are a "problem" for the Democrats.
It isn't so much that Biden has offered particularly compelling policies or that he's done much to excite primary voters apart from constantly invoking President Obama's name.
It also tees up a debate with Biden over how to pay for her plan. "What is this, is this a fantasy world here?" Before that debate, Quinnipiac had Biden at 30% and Harris at 7% - and immediately after Biden was at 22% and Harris at 20%. The two will share the stage again on Wednesday night, the second night of this week's debate.