Sen. Kamala Harris’s (D-Calif.) drive to implement Medicare for All took a wild ride on Tuesday when she appeared to backtrack on eliminating the private health insurance industry, then backtracked on that.
The effort to appease those galled at the notion of wiping out every American’s private health insurance plan while simultaneously playing to her radical base — which would like to see a government takeover — has now alienated people on all sides.
It also serves to demonstrate that Harris is not ready for prime time, spouting off platitudes and ear candy to the gullible while being forced to confront the reality of her radical platforms.
Eliminate all of that. The furor began when Harris stated during a CNN town hall meeting with Jake Tapper that she was embracing government takeover of the industry.
“I am running to declare, once and for all, that health care is a fundamental right. And we will deliver that right with Medicare for All,” she said during her 2020 kickoff speech.
When Tapper asked her about for-profit health care insurers, Harris replied, “Let’s eliminate all of that. Let’s move on.”
The outrage was immediate, with Republicans accusing her of finishing what Obama started by implementing single payer and discarding the private insurance plans of 177 million Americans.
Recent Gallup polling found that 85 percent of Americans describe the quality of health care they receive from their private insurance as “excellent” or “good.”
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Harris’s Medicare for All fantasy wouldn’t just eliminate private insurance plans — it would double your taxes, cost $32 trillion, and destroy the current Medicare system that seniors rely on.
Kamala Harris is totally extreme on health care.
She wants to “eliminate” your private health plan, even if you like it.
When people are told her socialist health care agenda would mean delays in care or higher taxes, only 26% support it. pic.twitter.com/CE4fhbVX7m
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) January 29, 2019
Even Democrat Howard Schultz, who is considering an independent run for the presidency in 2020 based on out-of-touch extremist ideas like this within his own party, piled on Harris, calling the proposal unrealistic and un-American. “That’s not correct, that’s not American,” Schultz said.
“What’s next? What industry are we going to abolish next? The coffee industry?”
Harris backtracks. CNN reporter Andrew Kaczynski tweeted Tuesday evening that Harris had backtracked on her call to “eliminate” private health insurance and provide Medicare for All.
Deleting this tweet because multiple Harris campaign spokespeople would like it clarified. Harris said at CNN's town hall she supports eliminating private health insurance. Her campaign advisor would like to emphasize she's also open to bills that perserve private health care. pic.twitter.com/7C6NAAbBIB
— andrew kaczynski (@KFILE) January 30, 2019
Her press secretary Ian Sams told CNN she was now open to multiple paths to achieve her goals. “Medicare for All is the plan that she believes will solve the problem and get all Americans covered, period,” Sams said. “She has co-sponsored other pieces of legislation that she sees as a path to getting us there, but this is the plan she is running on.”
Kaczynski wrote that Harris was “backtracking on her calls to eliminate all private health insurance in supporting Medicare for All,” noting that her spokesman had said, “She’s open to more moderate plans preserving the private health insurance industry.”
CNN reported that the multiple paths comment “represents a compromise position that risks angering Medicare for All proponents, who view eliminating private health insurance as key to enacting their comprehensive reform.”
Backtracks on the backtrack. No sooner had she backtracked when people from Harris’s campaign pressured CNN to change their story.
Not only did Kaczynski remove his tweet (a remarkable move showing reporters are willing to do what Harris’s campaign asks) — but CNN even changed its headline in addressing the backtrack. It shifted from Harris’s responding to the “backlash” in the original permalink to a newly written angle on the story. “The campaign’s view is it’s not a backtrack to emphasize this — even if unmentioned at the debate — because she’s co-sponsored multiple plans all along and they say Medicare for All is her preference,” Kaczynski later wrote.
You can’t have it both ways, Senator.
The fact is, most Americans don’t want Medicare for All once they learn the reality behind it. Once people learn that a government takeover of health care, which Harris and most 2020 Democrats support, would mean delays in care or higher taxes, only 26 percent support it.
Now the question becomes, Who does Harris want to please, Establishment members of her own party, or the radical extremists currently overtaking it? It certainly isn’t the American people.
This piece originally appeared in The Political Insider and is used by permission.
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