Harris Unconcerned With Cost of Expensive Government Programs: ‘It’s Not About Cost’

Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) downplayed the question of how to pay for new government programs, such as universal health care, during a conversation Monday with the "Political Party Live" podcast in Iowa.

Harris was asked how she would speak about expensive government programs to skeptical Democrats, and she said she wants to change the framing of these issues.

"I would say to them that we have to reframe the perspective," Harris said. "And instead of looking at the issue of ensuring that all people have access to health care because the premise there is that access to affordable health care should not be a privilege, it should be a right. It should not only be accessible to those who can afford it, it should be accessible to all. Then when people start saying cost, cost, cost, my response is ‘No, it's not about cost. It's about investment. It's about investment.'"

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Harris has called for eliminating private health insurance as part of an overhaul of America's health care system. The Kaiser Family Foundation found that 58 percent of Americans oppose "Medicare for all" if told it would eliminate private health insurance plans.

The Mercatus Center, a libertarian policy center, projected Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I., Vt.) "Medicare for all" plan would increase government health care spending by $32.6 trillion over ten years. His plan would also require enormous tax increases in order for the government to replace what employers and consumers currently pay for health care.

Harris signed on as a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal, and she said the United States could afford the costs of the proposal. An outline of the Green New Deal released by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D., Mass.) called for providing every American with a federal job that includes paid vacation and retirement benefits, "adequate housing," "healthy food," "Medicare for all," and "access to nature." The plan also seeks to retrofit or rebuild every building in the country to be more environmentally friendly.

The American Action Forum estimated the Green New Deal would cost between $52.6 trillion and $94.4 trillion over 10 years.