Almost Four Months Later, Kamala 'Clears Up' Eliminating Private Insurance Answer

May 12, 2019

Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) on Sunday clarified her comments from January regarding eliminating private insurance as part of Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I., Vt.) Medicare for all bill.

Harris, who is one of over twenty Democrats running for president, participated in a televised CNN town hall  back in January, where she called for the elimination of private insurance, saying, "Let's eliminate all of that. Let's move on."

During the Sunday interview on CNN's State of the Union, Tapper referred back to the town hall since he was the moderator and noted how she has since walked back her comments and said that private insurance didn't need to be completely eliminated, prompting Harris to interject so she could "clear that up."

"I support Medicare for all, but I  really do need to clear up what happened on that stage. It was in the context of saying, 'Let's get rid of all the bureaucracy. Let's get rid of--' " Harris said.

"Not the insurance companies?" Tapper asked.

"No, that's not what I meant. I know it was interpreted that way. If you watch the tape, I think you'll see that there are obviously many interpretations of what I said," Harris said. "What I meant is let's get rid of the bureaucracy."

She went on to push back against Tapper for saying Medicare for all gets rid of private insurance for everything, saying, "It doesn't get rid supplemental insurance."

"Right, through cosmetic surgery," Tapper said

Tapper conceded that not all private insurance would be eliminated, but said said it would affect "all essential health care benefits."

"But why. Ask the question why. The answer to that question is because Medicare for All and the vision of what it would be includes an expansion of coverage, so Medicare for All will include vision. It will include dental. It will include hearing aids," Harris said.

Harris's claim that Medicare for all will not eliminate private insurance is false. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D., Wash.), the lead sponsor of Medicare for all legislation in the House admitted earlier this month that her proposal, which is similar to Sanders' plan, would force approximately "a million individuals currently employed by private insurance companies out of a job," the Washington Free Beacon reported.

"There are a lot of people who work in the private insurance industry," Jayapal said during a town hall at American University captured on video by America Rising. "There's about a million people we think will be displaced if Medicare for all happens."

"We have set aside one percent a year of the total cost of the bill for five years to take care of a transition for employees in the private insurance sector," Jayapal said. "If they are able to retire, that might be one thing, pension guarantees, or job training so they can move into a different system."