Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) gave a full endorsement for a “Medicare-for-all” approach to health care during a CNN town hall discussion in Des Moines, Iowa, on Monday.
Asked how she would ensure access to health care as president, Harris backed the once-fringe policy that has gradually moved closer to the mainstream among Democrats.
“I believe the solution — and I actually feel very strongly about this — is that we need to have Medicare-for-all,” Harris answered. “That’s just the bottom line.”
Watch the video below:
I feel strongly about this — we need to have Medicare for All. pic.twitter.com/snZeyYruCq
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) January 29, 2019
Harris made her position clear, arguing that access to health care should be viewed as a right — not a privilege:
“What we know is that to live in a civil society, to be true to the ideals and the spirit of who we say we are as a country, we have to appreciate and understand that access to health care is a — should not be thought of as a privilege. It should be understood to be a right.”
“It should be understood to be something that all people should be entitled to so that they can live a productive life, so they can have dignity,” she added.
Harris had previously signed on as a co-sponsor of a single-payer health care bill from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in 2017. With Harris shaping up as one of the early leading candidates in the Democratic primary, the policy proposal could see support from more of the crowded field of contenders.
Jake Tapper, moderating the town hall for CNN on Monday, pressed Harris further on whether she believes people with private health insurance should be able to keep their plans under a “Medicare-for-all” system.
Watch the video below:
Calling for Medicare for All, Kamala Harris says of private insurance: ”Let’s eliminate all of that. Let’s move on.” pic.twitter.com/xT2I5IZDfT
— Shane Goldmacher (@ShaneGoldmacher) January 29, 2019
“Well, listen, the idea is that everyone gets access to medical care and you don’t have to go through the process of going through an insurance company, having them give you approval, going through the paperwork, all of the delay that may require,” Harris said in response to Tapper’s question. “Who of us has not had that situation where you’ve got to wait for approval, and the doctor says, ‘Well, I don’t know if your insurance company is going to cover this’?
“Let’s eliminate all of that,” she added. “Let’s move on.”