Senator Kamala Harris of California told Meet the Press’ Chuck Todd on Sunday that she supports the estimated $2.5 trillion Medicare for All proposal in which Medicare would be expanded to include all Americans and many of the deductibles and co-pays would be eliminated.
Vermont Governor Bernie Sanders first championed the universal health care plan during his 2016 Presidential bid.
The only other Democratic contender who has dared to endorse Sanders’ so-called “socialist” plan is Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is said to be “surging” in the Iowa state polls, with 19 percent of the vote; second only to Joe Biden, with 28 percent, according to NPR.
Harris is in third place with 11 percent and Sanders is at 9 percent.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg is at 8 percent and the rest of the field lags far behind.
Todd interviewed Harris in an extensive interview labeled “Trump Administration is Running a Campaign of Terror”, while barreling across Iowa in her red, yellow and blue bus that’s become a fixture of fascination in itself.
SENATOR KAMALA HARRIS: “So let me start by saying I was very proud as attorney general of California to be among the leaders who defended the Affordable Care Act. What President Obama accomplished was historic.
“….Here’s the point. Thirty million Americans without healthcare right now. We’ve got to get them covered.
CHUCK TODD: “Expanding Medicaid would take care of half of them, wouldn’t it?
SENATOR KAMALA HARRIS: “But Medicare for All means that everyone is covered. Half of 30 million is still 15 million. That’s still 15 million too many people without coverage.
CHUCK TODD: “But go to this issue of the debate. In your plan, employers are no longer going to be the place you get insurance, correct?
SENATOR KAMALA HARRIS: “That’s right….” Harris said “in addition to the moral aspect of this, which is — I do strongly believe health care should be a right and not just a privilege of those who can afford it, okay?
“There is also the issue of cost. It is, right now costing us $3 trillion. And over the next 10 years, it’s going to cost $6 trillion. We cannot afford to do nothing, “Harris said.
Donald Trump is calling the program “a massive government takeover of health care” that would expand Medicare to cover all Americans, make the program’s benefits more generous and eliminate most deductibles and co-payments,” The New York Times’ Abby Goodnough and Thomas Kaplan write.
“Their plan would eliminate Medicare as we know it and terminate the private insurance of 180 million Americans,” Trump says, according to the Times.
“That would hurt a lot of people”.
Apparently, the majority of Americans disagree.
Business Insider’s poll this week reported 59 percent of Americans would support Medicare for All, as long as they could keep their current coverage.
Labor Unions Split with Biden
Meanwhile, Politico reported on Monday “that some labor unions split with Biden on Medicare for All, saying the program would “exceed what they can provide.
“Only a few major unions have come out against the single-payer system that would all but eliminate private insurance, while many others remain undecided and some of the biggest labor groups in the country have embraced the plan,” Politico’s Alice Miranda Ollstein reports.
“Those supporting Medicare for All–or at least not yet ruling it out—say health care increasingly dominates contract battles, consuming bargaining power that could instead be directed toward raising wages and improving working conditions.
“Randi Weingarten, president of the 1.7 million-member American Federation of Teachers, which endorsed Medicare for All earlier this year, asks Politco’s Ollstein, “wouldn’t it be great if we had a single universal access point for health care and we could instead spend our time bargaining for lower class sizes and wrap around services and increases to people’s pay?”