Fact Check: Kamala Harris Does Not Have a Clear Healthcare Plan

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., participate in the second of two Democratic presidential primary debates hosted by CNN Wednesday, July 31, 2019, in the Fox Theatre in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
AP Photo/Paul Sancya

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) falsely claimed to have a clear healthcare plan that includes both a public option and a private insurance market at the second Democrat presidential debate on Wednesday.

Harris was asked by CNN’s moderators about attacks former Vice President Joe Biden has leveled at her healthcare proposal.

“Vice President Biden’s campaign calls your plan, quote, a have it every which way approach, and says it’s just part of a confusing pattern of equivocating about your health care stance,” the moderator asked. “What do you say to that?”

Harris responded that her plan had evolved after consulting the American public.

“They are probably confused because they have not read it,” Haris said. “The reality is I have been spending time in this campaign listening to American families … and what I came away with is a very clear understanding that I needed to create a plan that was responsive to the needs of the American people.”

The California Democrat added that she had designed a plan that have room for both a public option and private health insurance.

“I designed a plan where … there will be a public plan under my plan for Medicare and a private plan under my plan for Medicare,” Harris said.

Biden responded by noting that Harris has had several healthcare plans to date, and each of them have been different in some form.

“My response is the senator had several plans so far, and any time someone tells you you’re going to get something good in ten years, you should wonder why it takes ten years,” he said, before adding, “you can’t beat President Trump with double talk on this plan.”

After joining the Senate in 2017, Harris backed a number of different healthcare plans, including the Medicare for All plan authored by Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) that would ban private health insurance plans.

Since the start of 2019 alone, Harris has changed her position on healthcare multiple times. In January, the senator signaled her support for eliminating private health insurance, before reversing course in May and saying “that’s not what I meant.”

The back and forth has continued to date. In June at the first Democrat presidential debate, Harris stood on the stage and raised her hand to say she was in favor of eliminating private insurance, but quickly flipped the next day by claiming she had “misinterpreted” the question. She further muddled her position this month by claiming support for “the de facto elimination of private duplicative insurance,” though she did not explicitly say that she would legally mandate that outcome.

Earlier this week, Harris confused her stance even more by introducing a healthcare plan which Politico noted “skimps on myriad details, including the plan’s cost.”

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