The Corner

Health Care

Where Harris Stands on Health Care

Sen. Kamala Harris speaks during the second night of the first Democratic presidential candidates debate in Miami, Fla., June 27, 2019. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

Senator Kamala Harris has from time to time been forthright about wanting to abolish private health insurance. Now she is spreading confusion about her stance. Last night she raised her hand when Lester Holt asked, “Many people watching at home have health insurance through their employer. Who here would abolish their health insurance in favor of a government-run plan?” She raised her hand. But afterward she said that she had thought the question was about how she herself would get health insurance. She now says that she wants to keep private insurance.

But she really doesn’t. She says “private insurance would certainly exist for supplemental coverage,” and her communications aide explains that this is right in line with Bernie Sanders’s plan. Under that plan, the federal government would cover nearly all health expenses and private insurance would be forbidden to cover anything the government covered. In the past, Harris has conceded that cosmetic surgery is the kind of thing she is talking about.

Even this morning, while claiming to want private insurance to continue to be legal, Harris has been making the argument for effectively abolishing it. Private insurance companies have duped Americans, she says, into thinking they’re necessary for people to be able to keep their doctors. Sanders claimed last night that Americans would be able to go to any doctor or hospital they want under his plan. That may not be true, however, considering the massive cuts in payments to doctors and hospitals the plan would require to hit budget targets.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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