Sanders Hits Back at Harris Over Being Uncomfortable With His Medicare-for-All Bill

August 20, 2019 Updated: August 20, 2019

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) criticized Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) for pivoting from her support for his Medicare-for-All bill.

“I don’t go to the Hamptons to raise money from billionaires,” Sanders said on Twitter late Aug. 19.

“If I ever visited there, I would tell them the same thing I have said for the last 30 years: We must pass a ‘Medicare-for-All’ system to guarantee affordable health care for all, not just for those who can afford it.”

Harris, who co-sponsored Sanders’s radical bill, was campaigning in the Hamptons over the weekend when she revealed she no longer supports the legislation.

“I have not been comfortable with Bernie’s plan,” she said on the patio steps of the home of movie executive Jamie Patricof, according to Bloomberg. She said her Medicare-for-All plan would allow private insurance companies to remain, unlike Sanders’s proposal.

Harris told The Washington Post last week in comments reported on Monday that she was uncomfortable with the bill she once supported.

“I finally was like, I can’t make this circle fit into a square,” she said. “Look, I’m still committed to reining in the private insurance companies. They’re jacking up prices. But people want choice. And I don’t want to be in the business of just taking choice from them without figuring out a way to create options.”

Harris’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment from The Epoch Times about when she changed her mind on the bill and if she regretted co-sponsoring it.

Sanders, a self-described socialist, introduced the proposal in 2017. At the time, Harris said at a town hall that she was going to vote for it.

“Here, I’ll break some news: I intend to co-sponsor the Medicare-for-All bill, because it’s just the right thing to do,” she told the crowd. “Somebody should tell my staff.”

She co-sponsored the first version in 2017 and again co-sponsored it when it was re-introduced earlier this year.

The bill states that it would “be unlawful for a private health insurer to sell health insurance coverage that duplicates the benefits provided under this Act or an employer to provide benefits for an employee, former employee, or the dependents of an employee or former employee that duplicate the benefits provided under this Act.”

Bernie Sanders delivers his closing statement
Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) delivers his closing statement during the first round of the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by CNN at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Mich. on July 30, 2019. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Polls show little support for Medicare-for-All if it meant the end of private insurance. The bill was estimated to cost $32 trillion over 10 years by the Urban Institute. Sanders later said that it could cost up to $40 trillion over 10 years.

Sanders said in June that his plan would cover illegal immigrants and confirmed that stance during a debate in July.

“I happen to believe when I talk about healthcare it is a human right, and that applies to all people in this country,” he told the crowd at Fox Theatre in Detroit on July 30.

Sanders was among the slew of candidates who said they’d decriminalize illegal border crossings, changing the offense from a criminal to a civil one.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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