Kamala Harris Gets on the Medicare for All Train

Bill Clark/Congressional Quarterly/Newscom via ZUMA

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I guess “Medicare for All” is now the official name for any kind of universal health care proposal, so today Kamala Harris unveiled her Medicare for All plan:

Harris, an early endorser of Sanders’ Medicare for all proposal, keeps many of the same elements of the Vermont senator’s plan. All medically necessary services, such as doctor visits, hospital stays, and vision and dental care, would be included in the plan with no deductibles and strict limits on out-of-pocket costs. The proposal, like Sanders’, would allow the government to negotiate prescription drug prices with pharmaceutical companies in order to curb rising medication costs.

But Harris outlined a longer transition time — 10 years — to implement the new program, gradually incorporating newborns and uninsured people through automatic enrollment and giving others more time to move to the government-run plan.

….The proposal offers new clarity on the role of private insurers, which Harris had been muddled about in the past. Unlike Sanders, who would curtail their participation almost entirely, Harris would allow corporate plans to offer competing Medicare plans, modeled on the Medicare Advantage plans available for older Americans now. Those plans would have to adhere to government-set requirements on benefits and costs to ensure access and limit insurer profits….Harris would limit [] tax hikes to those making $100,000 or more. Instead of taxing lower-income families, she would impose a fee on Wall Street transactions and make other changes to the corporate tax rate.

That’s fine, and it’s very on-brand for Harris: lefty, but not too lefty. Given the history of Medicare Advantage, which has never been a very efficient delivery vehicle, I’m not sure that’s a great model for the private insurance part of Harris’ plan, but it’s hardly the worst idea either. Overall, this plan sounds quite workable. You can read more about it here.

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