A single payer health system is another way of saying socialized medicine.
Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris of California aligned herself with the liberal wing of her party this week by endorsing Sen. Bernie Sanders’ single-payer healthcare proposal, despite the fact that it could cost taxpayers many trillions of dollars.
Considered to be “one to watch” in the 2020 presidential race, Harris told constituents at a town hall meeting in Oakland that she planned to co-sponsor Sanders’ forthcoming “Medicare for All” bill, explaining that it was “just the right thing to do.”
“It’s not just about what is morally and ethically right, it also makes sense from a fiscal standpoint,” Harris said on Wednesday.
Last month, Harris said that she supported the single-payer system as a “concept,” but that lawmakers needed to “work out the details.” Her announcement to co-sponsor Sanders’ bill is the first time she has publicly thrown her support behind a single-payer plan.
Under this European-style health care system, the government would be solely responsible for covering health care costs. Sanders (I-Vt.) rolled out an earlier version of his proposal during the Democratic presidential primaries in 2016.
He estimated back then that the plan would cost $13.8 trillion over the first 10 years. But an analysis by the nonpartisan Urban Institute found that the price tag for a single-payer system would be more likely to cost the federal government a whopping $32 trillion over the first decade, requiring an average annual tax increase of $24,000 per household. (That increase would be offset in part by a big reduction in private health care spending, and state/local government spending.)
A spokesman for Sanders told Fox News on Thursday that the Urban Institute’s figure was “not accurate” with respect to the 2017 proposal.
“This bill is substantially different and more detailed than the brief plan released during the campaign,” Sanders’ spokesman said, noting that the bill has yet to be released, but that they would have a “better sense” of the cost once it’s finalized. The bill is expected to be rolled out the second week of September.
“You’re seeing more and more movement toward Medicare for All,” Sanders said this week. “When the people are saying we need health care for everyone, as more and more Americans come on board, it will become politically possible.”
The failed presidential candidate thanked Harris on Twitter late Wednesday for her support.
“Thank you @KamalaHarris for your support. Let’s make health care a right, not a privilege,” Sanders tweeted.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) August 30, 2017
Representative John Conyers (D-Mich.) introduced another bill to the House which would attempt to establish a Medicare for All program aimed at providing Americans with a broad range of health care, including emergency care, primary care, prescription drugs and vision care. That bill currently has 117 cosponsors.
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