July 31, 2019 | Updates

ICYMI: Media Points Out ‘Cynicism’ Of Harris’s Medicare For All Plan

WASHINGTON – When Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) takes the debate stage this evening, the presidential candidate will no doubt promote the one-size-fits-all Medicare for all proposal she rolled out this week to intense criticism.
But while Harris attempts to position her proposal as a middle ground between Senator Bernie Sanders’s (I-VT) Medicare for all legislation – of which Harris is a co-sponsor – and the “public option” supported by former Vice President Joe Biden, the fact is that Harris would still replace every Americans’ existing coverage with an entirely new government-run system that would eliminate the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and employer-provided coverage.  Eighty-six percent of Americans with employer-provided coverage rate their coverage as “good” or “excellent,” according to a new national poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Meanwhile, Senator Harris claims that her government-run health care system would not force families to pay more through higher taxes.  But as CNN recently reported, “[t]ax experts … say that you can’t raise enough money from taxing the rich and that the levies on all Americans may exceed the savings” supporters of Medicare for all promise.  “There’s no possible way to finance [Medicare for all] without big middle class tax increases,” the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget’s Marc Goldwein explained to The Washington Post.  Likewise, Bloomberg finds that under Medicare for all, “[f]or many Americans … higher taxes would exceed any savings.”

At New York Magazine, Eric Levitz notes “the cynicism of Harris’s plan,” writing that “[i]n policy terms, this is the opposite of hard-nosed realism.  Very few left-wing economists – including those who contend that America’s fiscal deficit is too low – believe that the U.S. can afford to establish Medicare for All without charging families that earn $90,000 a year any premiums or new taxes.”  Levitz recently examined the “fundamental incoherence” and “substantive absurdity” of Senator Harris’s position on Medicare for all, including her assertion that such a system could be implemented without middle-class tax increases.

Public opinion research shows that most Americans are well aware that they’d be hit with unaffordable tax hikes under the system Harris supports: “There’s one thing Americans understand about Medicare-for-all: It would mean higher taxes … Americans seem most familiar with the fact that Medicare-for-all would require massively higher taxes,” The Washington Post reports of a recent national poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation.  As Kaiser writes of their findings, “eight in 10 Americans (78%) are aware that taxes would increase for most people under such a plan.” 

A previous national poll by Kaiser revealed that 60 percent oppose Medicare for all when they learn it would require most Americans to pay higher taxes.

Meanwhile, The Associated Press reports that “[g]overnment surveys show that about 90% of the population has coverage, largely preserving gains from President Barack Obama’s years.  Independent experts estimate that more than one-half of the roughly 30 million uninsured people in the country are eligible for health insurance through existing programs.



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