Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) received backlash for her strong call to “eliminate” all private health insurance to embrace “Medicare for All,” but now, she’s walking back on her remark.
Appearing on CNN’s town hall on Monday, Harris, who recently announced her run in the 2020 presidential election, expressed the idea that “we need to have Medicare for all” — Harris is a co-signer of the Medicare for All act.
CNN’s Jake Tapper asked what happens to those who want to keep their type of coverage.
“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 all the paperwork, all of the delay that may require. Who of all us have not had that situation where you have to wait for approval and the doctor says, ‘I don’t know if your insurance company is going to cover this.”
“Let’s eliminate all of that,” Harris said. “Let’s move on.”
Watch the video below:
In which Jake asks Kamala Harris whether people would be able to keep their private insurance, if they prefer, under Medicare For All system — and she rejects that. "Let's eliminate all of that. Let's move on." pic.twitter.com/A1AY2TOT4g
— Rebecca Buck (@RebeccaBuck) January 29, 2019
The California Democrat drew criticism for her remark, which was labeled as “not American.”
As the criticism rolled in, Harris walked back slightly from her strong “eliminate” all private healthcare remark, as her adviser told CNN on Tuesday that she is not eliminating private insurance if there’s another way to receive Medicare for all.
Her adviser and her national press secretary Ian Sams told CNN that Harris is open to other paths that lead to a single-payer system.
“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.”
Republican colleague of Harris, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) slammed her for endorsing “Medicare for All,” when he told IJR Harris is “wanting to take away the health insurance that hundreds of millions of Americans rely upon.”
“[Harris] wants to replace it instead with government-controlled health care, which inevitably results in scarcity and rationing and long wait times,” Cruz said. “That would be a terrible outcome for the American people.”
A Kaiser Family Foundation poll found 56 percent of Americans support “Medicare for All” until they hear it would eliminate private health insurance, then the support falls to 37 percent.