Harris: 'I Support Medicare for All, I Always Have'

Harris previously said she wasn't 'comfortable' with Medicare for All

September 12, 2019

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.) on Thursday night claimed that she has always supported Medicare for All, but last month she came out against it, saying she was no longer "comfortable" supporting the proposal.

Harris made the comment during ABC's Democratic primary debate in Houston, Texas, in response to moderator George Stephanopoulos, who asked Harris why she initially cosponsored Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I., Vt.) Medicare for All bill when she now claims she isn't "comfortable" with the legislation.

She gave credit to former President Barack Obama for the Affordable Care Act and then credited Sanders before saying, "I support Medicare for All. I always have, but I wanted to make the plan better, which I did."

"Under my Medicare for All plan people have the choice of a private plan or a public plan because that's what people want and I agree we shouldn't take choice from people," Harris said. "But here's the thing, everybody on this stage I do believe is well intentioned and wants that all Americans have coverage and recognizes that right now 30 million Americans don't have coverage."

She then shifted the conversation to President Donald Trump and complained about the candidates not focusing on him during the debate.

"Donald Trump's Department of Justice is trying to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. Donald Trump's administration is trying to get rid of the ban that we placed on denying people who have preexisting conditions coverage," Harris said.

As National Journal editor Josh Kraushaar said on Twitter, Harris has been "all over the map" on health care. The California senator endorsed the radical health care proposal before it was even written during a town hall in 2017.

"Here, I'll break some news: I intend to co-sponsor the Medicare for All bill, because it's just the right thing to do," she told the crowd, becoming the first lawmaker to endorse the bill. "Somebody should tell my staff."

After supporting the bill for two years on Capitol Hill, cosponsoring it in 2017 and then re-introducing it this year, she said she no longer supported it.

"I finally was like, I can’t make this circle fit into a square," Harris explained before expressing support for an alternative plan.

"Look, I’m still committed to reining in the private insurance companies," Harris said. "They’re jacking up prices. But people want choice, and I don’t want to be in the business of just taking choice from them without figuring out a way to create options."