One of the more awkward moments to emerge from the first 2020 Democratic presidential debates occurred when Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) attempted to walk back her support for banning every single private health insurance plan in America.
During the debates, Democrats were given the mother of all lay-up questions when moderators asked candidates to raise their hand if they support banning private health insurance — translation: do you support kicking every single American who gets health insurance through their employer off their plan, no matter how much they like it?
Even in a Democrat field economically illiterate enough to promote ideas such as “postal banking,” taxpayer-funded campaigns, and “Noun-for-All” economic policies (Jobs-for-All, College-for-All, etc.), few were foolish enough to raise their hands in support of one the dumbest, most unpopular policy ideas imaginable. But three did: Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Harris.
Well, Harris did, until she didn’t.
New York Times columnist David Brooks lamented the three stooges making the Democratic Party look insane on television, writing:
When Warren and Kamala Harris raised their hands and said that they would eliminate employer-based health insurance, they made the most important gesture of the campaign so far. Over 70 percent of Americans with insurance through their employers are satisfied with their health plan. Warren, Harris and Sanders would take that away.[…]
According to a Hill-HarrisX survey, only 13 percent of Americans say they would prefer a health insurance system with no private plans. Warren and Sanders pin themselves, and perhaps the Democratic Party, to a 13 percent policy idea. Trump is smiling. [Emphasis added]
Now that Harris has walked back her support for kicking over 150 million Americans off their health insurance plan and forcing them into a government-run solution, can we take her seriously again?
It turns out Harris is also an original co-sponsor of Sanders’ “Medicare-for-All” bill that — you guessed it — bans private health insurance. She literally introduced the bill with him.
The post-debate walk-back is not the first time Harris has tried to mask her support for a government takeover of the health insurance market. Check out this exchange she had with Jake Tapper at a CNN town hall back in January:
TAPPER: … initially co-sponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders. You’re also a co-sponsor onto it. I believe it will totally eliminate private insurance. So for people out there who like their insurance, they don’t get to keep it?
HARRIS: Well, listen, the idea is that everyone gets access to medical care, and you don’t have to go through the process of going through an insurance company, having them give you approval, going through the paperwork, all of the delay that may require. Who of us has not had that situation, where you’ve got to wait for approval, and the doctor says, well, I don’t know if your insurance company is going to cover this? Let’s eliminate all of that. Let’s move on.
Senator Harris — why the dodgy answer? You introduced the bill!
Or, Senator Harris, if you don’t support your own legislation, why is it so hard to say, “Okay, maybe kicking 150-plus million Americans off their health insurance plans is kinda crazy.”
With Harris rising in the polls since her debate performance, I hope she will begin pushing back against “Medicare-for-All” and its ban on private health insurance when she next takes the debate stage.
But will she? Or will she fall back to defending “Medicare-for-All” — a bill, once again, that bans private health insurance and that she introduced?
Will the real Kamala Harris please stand up?
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore