One Question, Three Answers On Medicare For All
WASHINGTON – As supporters of Medicare for all continue to face serious questions regarding the unaffordable tax increases and lower quality of care Americans could expect under a one-size-fits-all health care system, some are also struggling to answer for the fact that it would eliminate the private health coverage on which 217 million Americans depend.
In an interview with KCCI, a CBS affiliate in Des Moines, Iowa, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was asked: “There are people who would like to keep their private insurance. Is that possible under that plan?” Sanders’s answer was: “No.”
Compare that with the confusing comments Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) made over the weekend on the exact same topic:
In an interview with Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Senator Harris attempted, in her own words, to “clear up” her position on eliminating private health coverage. Via Mediate:
“But the [Sanders Medicare for all] bill gets rid of insurance,” said Tapper.
“No, no. It does not get rid of insurance, it does not get rid of insurance,” said Harris. She started to say what her position is, beginning by saying she supports Medicare for all.
Tapper interjected saying “as a principle you mean. Not Bernie Sanders’ bill.”
Harris objected, “I support the bill. I support the bill.”
“Well because the bill gets rid of private insurance for everything that is–” Tapper said.
“It doesn’t get rid of supplemental insurance–” Harris objected again.
“Right, for, cosmetic surgery, but for all–” Tapper said.
“So it doesn’t get rid of all insurance!” said Harris.
“Okay it doesn’t get rid of all insurance, but for all essential health care benefits,” Tapper clarified.
Meanwhile, appearing on ABC’s “This Week,” Senator Booker struggled “to reconcile his co-sponsorship of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Medicare-for-all bill with his stance that the private insurance industry should not be eliminated — something called for by both the legislation and a number of the Democratic primary’s biggest names, including Sanders and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.”
JONATHAN KARL: Let me ask you about healthcare. You are a co-sponsor of Bernie Sanders Medicare for All. But you also say that you don’t want to eliminate private health insurance.
SEN. BOOKER: I think we need –
KARL: Explain that, because his plan eliminates private health insurance.
BOOKER: Well, I support what all Americans I think support, which is this idea in the wealthiest nation on the planet Earth, everyone should have access to health care. I think the best way to get there is Medicare for All and I’m going to work towards that goal.
KARL: OK, so that means ultimately you are fine with eliminating all private health insurance including what’s been negotiated by unions?
BOOKER: No, I never said that and you know this, you know this.
KARL: Bernie Sanders bill does say that there will be no duplicative private health insurance. It’s right there. It’s right there. You’re a co-sponsor.
As the Morning Consult reported last week, protecting private coverage is “in direct contradiction to Medicare for All.”