Sanders takes swipe at Harris health care proposal

Aaron Schwartz

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) is taking fire from fellow presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) over the alternative to “Medicare for All” health care plan she rolled out Monday ahead of the second Democratic debates.

Faiz Shakir, Sanders’s campaign manager, slammed Harris’s plan for relying on private insurance companies. 

{mosads}“Call it anything you want, but you can’t call this plan Medicare for All. Folding to the interests of the health insurance industry is both bad policy and bad politics,” Shakir said in a statement. “This plan is centered around privatizing Medicare, enriching insurance executives and introducing more corporate greed and profiteering into the Medicare system.” 

Shakir spent Monday morning sparring on Twitter with Harris’s campaign staff and supporters of her new proposal.

Harris has previously waffled about her support for completely eliminating private insurance, which is what Sanders’s plan calls for. 

Her new plan would transition to a government-run Medicare for All system over a 10-year period, but would still preserve some role for private insurance companies. It would eventually replace employer-sponsored coverage, but also let private companies provide an alternative option, so long as they meet the requirements of the Medicare for All plan. 

Supporters say Harris’s plan is essentially an expansion of the current Medicare Advantage program, which relies on private companies to administer Medicare programs that provide more services than a traditional, government-run Medicare program. 

Her proposal did not have many details about how the transition would work or how it would be financed, but the plan promises not to raise middle-class taxes. Harris’s proposal would not tax families making less than $100,000.

Harris has also taken criticism on her plan from former Vice President Joe Biden, who has proposed a plan that leaves most existing insurance plans in place. Biden proposed creating a government-run health plan, but would make enrollment optional. 

Tags Bernie Sanders Joe Biden Medicare for all single payer
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