Which of these
As Wednesday’s debate made vividly clear, there are almost as many versions of “Medicare for All” as there are Democratic candidates — and each one thinks their plan is the path to insuring every American.
This time they were in
Though only two candidates referenced health care in their opening remarks — former Housing and
For about 24 minutes, nearly a quarter of the debate, the 10
Harris was confident in outlining her Medicare for All plan, saying she listened to Americans to create an approach that would respond to their needs. This would include a public option and a 10-year transition to a new Medicare-based system.
But Biden quickly hit back, saying that when someone promises something in 10 years, you have to wonder why it will take so long. He reiterated his support for the Affordable Care Act, saying it is working and the best way forward is to “build on what’s working.”
They bickered over how to retain choices for consumers, using terms like private and employer-based insurance, public option and Medicare Advantage.
At times the back and forth was fast and furious, and it seemed even the candidates were lost in the numbers they were firing across the stage. Fortunately, we were taking notes.
HARRIS: “I’m going to go back to Vice President Biden because your plan does not cover everyone in America by your staff’s and your own definition. Ten million people, as many as 10 million people, will not have access to health care.”
Her claim needs, at least, further scrutiny.
When Biden unveiled his health care plan a couple weeks ago, his campaign noted — under the bold heading, “Give Every American Access to Affordable Health Insurance” — that it would insure “more than an estimated 97 percent of Americans.”
A Harris campaign spokeswoman pointed to the fact that there are an estimated 329.3 million people in
Imprecise math aside, there are other factors that could play into the number of uninsured individuals under a Biden health care system. That includes the fact that some Americans just don’t want insurance — the problem the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate was intended to fix. But
Both Bennet and Biden claimed Harris’ plan would lead to the elimination of employer-based insurance. That could be the case, particularly for plans that would not meet the expansive requirements for coverage of “medically necessary” services Harris outlined.
But there is more to learn about Harris’ plan, released just two days ago — and at least a couple problems with Bennet’s claim.
To start, while Warren, Sanders and Harris all use the term “Medicare for All” to refer to their preferred health care plan, they do not share a single plan.
The Sanders plan (endorsed by Warren) would eliminate private insurance in favor of a government plan. Harris’ plan, though, keeps a role for private insurers willing to offer Medicare coverage that meet certain benefit and cost requirements.
During her plan’s decade-long phase-in, Harris wrote in a Medium post — and Bennet’s campaign cited as evidence — that it would “provide a commonsense path for employers, employees, the underinsured, and others on federally-designated programs, such as Medicaid or the Affordable Care Act exchanges, to transition.”
Would those employer plans transition out of existence? Harris’ campaign did not immediately respond to inquiries about the future of employer-based insurance under her proposal.
This fact check was produced in partnership with PolitiFact.