Biden Attacks Kamala’s ‘Have-It-Every-Which-Way’ Health Care Approach

Harris campaign releases health care proposal after months of flip-flops

Kamala Harris and Joe Biden during the first Democratic presidential debate / Getty Images

Just days before the two will share the debate stage, Joe Biden's presidential campaign took aim at Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) for her "refusal to be straight with the American middle class" on the true costs of her Medicare for All health care proposal.

Harris released a Medicare for All plan on Monday morning that is far less extreme than the Medicare for All legislation by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I, Vt.) she co-sponsored in the U.S. Senate. Her plan would preserve a role for private insurance companies, who would have to operate within the system.

"If they want to play by our rules, they can be in the system," Harris said. "If not, they have to get out."

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Biden's campaign responded by saying Harris is attempting to take a "have-it-every-which-way" approach to health care, and criticizing her "long and confusing" evolution on how Medicare for All would work.

"After she launched her campaign for president, Senator Harris confirmed her support for the Sanders bill, but then, after being pressed about the ramifications of denying voters the choice of private health insurance plans, began a long and confusing pattern of equivocating about her stance on health care in America," Kate Bedingfield, a top Biden campaign official. "That pattern has now taken yet another twist."

"This new, have-it-every-which-way approach pushes the extremely challenging implementation of the Medicare for All part of this plan ten years into the future, meaning it would not occur on the watch of even a two-term administration," Bedingfield continued. "The result? A Bernie Sanders-lite Medicare for All and a refusal to be straight with the American middle class, who would have a large tax increase forced on them with this plan."

Bedingfield ended her statement by praising Sanders, who is currently polling second behind Biden, for being honest about the tax increases that would come with Medicare for All.

"To their credit, the Sanders campaign has been honest that the only way to enact Medicare for All without substantially raising taxes on the middle class would require ‘unicorns' and ‘magic wands,'" she said.