Presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) said on Friday that eliminating private health insurance is an "urgent goal."
Appearing on the podcast "Lovett or Leave It," Gillibrand was asked if eliminating private insurance should be a goal–even an urgent one–for the Democratic Party.
"One of the most recent debates we've had recently is what happens to private insurance. Should ending private insurance, as we know it, be a Democratic goal? And do you think it's an urgent goal?" asked podcast host Jon Lovett, a former speechwriter for President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
"Oh yeah, it is a goal. An urgent goal," Gillibrand responded. "But let me explain. I ran on 'Medicare for all' in 2006 in my upstate New York two-to-one Republican district. And the reason I ran on that message was because I listened first. I traveled around the district asked people 'what's on your mind, what's your worry,' and they overwhelmingly said 'I'm worried about access to health care."
Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.), one of Gillibrand's many opponents in the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, called last month for the elimination of private health insurance plans. While talking about her support for "Medicare for all," Harris revealed that her plan would eliminate the private insurance market.
"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. 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. Let's move on," Harris said.
This debate has divided Democrats on whether "Medicare for all" requires the elimination of the private insurance industry.