Harris Not 'Comfortable' With Bernie’s Medicare for All Plan

She cosponsored Sanders's plan but now says it doesn't 'fit' her goal of giving people choices (updated)

Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) / Getty Images
August 19, 2019

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.) said over the weekend she is not comfortable with Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I., Vt.) "Medicare for All" plan, despite cosponsoring it.

"I have not been comfortable with Bernie's plan," she said at a fundraiser in the Hamptons according to Bloomberg.

Harris is a co-sponsor of the Medicare for All Act, which Sanders openly says aims to eliminate private health insurance. But she told Washington Post reporter Chelsea Janes that she had to "finally" admit Sanders's Medicare for All plan doesn't suit her aspiration for a system that also provides choices to people.

"I finally was like, I can’t make this circle fit into a square," Harris said, according to Janes on Twitter. "Look, I’m still committed to reining in the private insurance companies. They’re jacking up prices."

"But people want choice," she added. "And I don’t want to be in the business of just taking choice from them without figuring out a way to create options."

Confusing views on health care is nothing new for Harris. She and her campaign have been all over the place on the issue. During a CNN town hall back in January, Harris said she wanted to get rid of private health care plans in favor of a "Medicare for All" system, but her campaign quickly backtracked.

Then in May, she insisted to CNN's Jake Tapper that her plan wouldn't get rid of private insurance. But during the first Democratic primary debate, the candidates were asked if they would abolish their private insurance in favor of a government-run plan. Harris immediately raised her hand. In July, Harris attempted again to clarify her position on health care by releasing her own plan. In her announcement, she states that she does not support the total elimination of private insurance plans.

Haris's back-and-forth on the issue has frustrated voters. At a campaign stop at a nursing home, one elderly voter told Harris to "leave our health care system alone."

Aside from expressing concern about Sanders's plan to donors, Harris also reassured them that she believes in capitalism.

"I believe in capitalism, but capitalism is not working for most people," Harris said.

UPDATED 10:28 a.m.: This post has been updated with Harris's words as reported by Chelsea Janes on Twitter.