Yesterday, Ed wrote about Sen. Kamala Harris and other Democrats backing away from Bernie Sanders Medicare for All plan. Today, the Washington Post published an entertaining video clip which pulls together all of Harris’ flip-flops on the issue over the past several months. The Post says Harris has had at least three different positions on the subject but I think that might be a somewhat generous reading. Let’s make a list of her positions as shown in the clip below.
First, she jumped on board the Medicare4All train with Bernie Sanders and agreed to co-sponsor his plan back in 2017. She still supported this when she became a candidate earlier this year. Sanders’ plan would eliminate private insurance.
But by April, Harris was hedging, claiming she did not want to eliminate all private insurance even while maintaining her support for Sanders’ M4A bill. Jake Tapper pressed her on this a bit and all she could say was that she would allow “supplemental insurance” for things like cosmetic surgery, which isn’t covered by most insurance anyway.
In June Harris raised her hand at a debate when asked who wanted to “abolish their private health insurance in favor of a government-run plan.”
The very next day, Harris clarified that she was only answering the question with regard to abolishing her own personal insurance. Other candidates should try this out: Yes, I said I wanted to nuke Denmark, but I only meant that I personally wanted that, not that I wanted the government to do that when I’m president.
And finally, the clip ends with Sen. Harris once again claiming that her version of Medicare for All would allow for private insurance coverage. To be clear, Harris did introduce her own bill in July which would allow for private insurance. In other words, she made a clean break from Bernie Sanders’ bill but keeps referring to her plan by the same name which seems intended to confuse everyone.
Anyway, if you’re looking for an explanation of why Harris is once again looking like a back-bencher in this race, I think her shifting, confused, and seemingly dishonest positions on health care reform is a more likely cause than Tulsi Gabbard’s repeated hits on her record.