Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) called out Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) over her healthcare plan, implying that she was not being honest and warning that it could make it more difficult for Democrats to defeat President Trump.
Tapper asked Bennet if he agreed with his moderate colleagues who suggested that running on Medicare for All will get Donald Trump reelected.
“I agree that it makes it more likely,” Bennet began.
“Unlike others on this stage, I’ve been crystal clear of where I’ve been for a decade through two tough races in Colorado,” he said – a subtle jab at Harris.
“I believe we should finish the job we started with the Affordable Care Act, with a public option that gives everybody in this audience … to pick for their family whether they want private insurance or public insurance,” he added
Tapper eventually asked Harris about Bennet’s suggestion that she supports banning employer-based health insurance, and she rejected the assertion.
“With all due respect to my friend, my plan does not offer anything that is illegal,” Harris said. “What it does is it separates the employer from healthcare, meaning …the kind of health care you get will not be a function of where you work.”
At that point, Bennet warned the audience that Harris’s inability to speak about her plan from a position of honesty could hurt Democrats in the general election.
“Senator Harris is my friend as well, but I have to say, if we can’t admit tonight what’s in the plan – which is banning employer-based insurance – we’re not going to be able to admit that when Donald Trump is accusing Democrats of doing that as well,” he said.
“We need to be honest about what’s in this plan. It bans employer-based insurance and taxes the middle class to the tune of $30 trillion. Do you know how much that is? That’s 70 percent of what the government will collect in taxes over the next 10 years,” he continued.
“We don’t need to do that. We can have a public option and have universal health care in this country,” he said to applause.
“We cannot keep with the Republican talking points on this,” Harris responded. “You gotta stop.”