Harris Evades Question of Raising Taxes on Middle Class

The presidential candidate questioned on paying for Medicare for All

July 17, 2019

Senator Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) was pressed on how she would pay for her healthcare plan without raising taxes on the middle class in an interview with CNN's Kyung Lah that aired on Wednesday.

Lah asked Harris about middle class tax hikes after Harris said she supported Senator Bernie Sanders's (I., Vt.) bill and that hers was very similar. Sanders has said his plan would require a middle class tax hike.

When pressed, Harris said, "I mean, I'm not in support of middle class families paying more taxes for it." She added, "Part of it is going to be about Wall Street paying more. It's going to be about what we tax in terms of financial services. That's part of it. The other part is to ups understand this is about an investment that will reap a great return on the investment. We can't only look at this issue in terms of cost without thinking about benefit. The benefit to the American public will be that people will have access to health care that right now they cannot afford. And we are all paying a price for that."

When Lah asked if taxing Wall Street would cover Medicare for All's estimated price tag of $30 trillion over ten years, Harris dodged, saying, "What we're doing right now is unaffordable to so many American families. And the idea that we're going to go down and this level of analysis that suggests that status quo is okay is completely unacceptable."

Lah also asked about Harris's view on private insurance. Harris said the role of private insurance would be to cover what isn't covered by Medicare for All, which she said would be very little. When asked if people would have to eventually give up their private insurance under her plan, Harris said, "They would eventually be covered under Medicare for All and still see their doctor. And that's what they wanted." Harris said that transition would take longer than the four years that Sanders called for in his plan.

Harris has been unclear on her position on private insurance, oscillating between saying it would be abolished and that it would be allowed under her plan.