Biden, Sanders Attack Kamala Harris for Flip-Flop on ‘Medicare for All’

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice-President Joe Biden, left, and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., spar during the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is in the center. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

Former vice president Joe Biden and the campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) both attacked Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) for flip-flopping on her support for Sanders’s “Medicare for All” proposal, which she co-sponsored.

The attacks came out Monday, shortly after Harris released a new version of her health care policy earlier that day, and the day before the first night of the second Democratic debate.

In Harris’s new plan, which she still calls “Medicare for All,” Harris specifically criticized Sanders for proposing to pay for his plan — which she supported — through taxes on middle-class families.

She also proposed rolling out the policy over ten years, instead of the two years proposed by Sanders.

Harris also tried to clarify her earlier flip-flops on whether she would allow private health insurance to continue to exist, saying that private insurers would have to offer Medicare plans, and that they would be otherwise restricted to offering travel insurance or paying for cosmetic surgery.

Biden issued a statement in which he accused Harris of “a long and confusing pattern of equivocating.” He said she had “backtracked” on “Medicare for All” while still promising to dismantle Obamacare.

The result, he said, would be a “Bernie Sanders-lite Medicare for All.”

Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir told CNN:

She started with supporting Bernie Sanders’s Medicare for All as a plan, and we appreciate that. Now she has moved away from it. Unfortunately, I think we’ve seen two major changes. One is she’s decided she would like to privatize Medicare. She would like to introduce more insurance companies into Medicare. That introduces more profit-seeking into Medicare. The second thing she wants to do is phase it in over ten years, not in one term of a presidency, not in two, but that you would have to wait ten years for people who have been struggling.

Shakir also noted that unlike Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Harris had not pledged to refuse contributions from pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies.

Update: An outside political group supporting Warren also based Harris’s plan for including the private sector in Medicare:

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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