Monday, 19 August, 2019

Harris Health Plan Stops Short of Overhaul Sanders Envisions

Sanders Calls Biden Medicare for All Comments Kamala Harris reveals a different type of Medicare for All
Anna Jefferson | 03 August, 2019, 07:54

Ms Harris is releasing her plan days before Democrats meet in Detroit for the second set of presidential debates.

"After she launched her campaign for president, Senator Harris confirmed her support for the Sanders bill, but then, after being pressed about the ramifications of denying voters the choice of private health insurance plans, began a long and confusing pattern of equivocating about her stance on health care in America", Kate Bedingfield, a top Biden campaign official.

As soon as the plan is passed, anyone who wants it would be able to buy in to Medicare, a similar setup to the immediate buy-in Sanders outlines. She referred to Harris' plan as a "Bernie Sanders-lite Medicare for All".

Sanders' plan calls for a transition period of four years.

It extends the transition period for reaching universal coverage to 10 years, compared to four years in Sanders' plan.

The core political problem for Medicare for All is that a large number of Americans now have employer-sponsored health plans that they like, and Medicare for All would eliminate many of those plans and force those Americans into government-run insurance. "They will get insurance either through the new public Medicare plan or a Medicare plan offered by a private insurer within that system". "If not, they have to get out", Harris wrote in a post on the online publishing platform Medium.

But Kathleen Sebelius, who was chief of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under Democratic President Barack Obama, said Harris' plan would be a "sensible expansion" of the Medicare system that would build on the Affordable Care Act, Obama's signature healthcare law.

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Medicare for All has become a defining issue in the Democratic primary, with the most progressive candidates calling for a revolutionary approach to providing insurance coverage for all Americans at a lower price. And as Zhou points out, it faces enormous hurdles, including likely resistance from the health care industry and near-certain opposition from Republican lawmakers.

"To pay for this specific change, I would tax Wall Street stock trades at 0.2%, bond trades at 0.1%, and derivative transactions at 0.002%". I believe this hits the middle class too hard. Medicare for All will cover all medically necessary services, including emergency room visits, doctor visits, vision, dental, hearing aids, mental health and substance use disorder treatment, and comprehensive reproductive health care services.

"So people will be paying in some cases, more in taxes, but overall, because they're not going to be paying premiums, copayments, deductibles, they'll be paying less for their healthcare", he explained during the CNN interview.

Zoom out: The AP reported Sunday that about 90% of Americans are covered by the US health system, indicating that high costs may be a bigger problem than coverage.

Her plan is influenced by a Citizen report that projects the US spends $3.3 trillion annually on healthcare which is 17 percent of its GDP. For instance, support rises to three quarters if respondents hear that a public option would provide more choice on the Obamacare exchanges or that it would help drive down costs because private insurers would have to compete. Indeed, Harris specifically rejects Sanders' proposal for a 4 percent "premium" on households making more than $29,000 annually, reserving that fee for families with incomes over $100,000, and further adjustments for high-cost areas.

But Mr Sanders' campaign has already been critical of her new plan.

Under the Harris plan, the private health coverage that would remain would be so heavily regulated as to be effectively government-run, and the plan would still require a complex transition from the current employer-based system to one where the government is responsible for financing most health care. Together, these proposals would raise well over $2 trillion over ten years, more than enough to make up the difference from raising the middle class income threshold. Faiz Shakir, his campaign manager, said Harris had "gradually" backed down from her support for a single-payer plan, which she has co-sponsored since the fall of 2017.

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