2020 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (CA) unveiled a health care plan just days before the second Democratic primary debate.

Harris outlined her plan on the Medium platform. Her idea involves Medicare for All, but also keep private insurance companies.

The Plan

For some reason, presidential candidates think as soon as they take office, they can snap their fingers and deliver on all their campaign promises.

Second, it looks like Harris has tried to appease both sides by going all-in for Medicare for All while allowing people to keep their private insurance. Aw, isn’t that sweet? Harris would enable me to keep my insurance.

Anyway, Harris wrote that her plan would grant people the ability to access Medicare. She believes her program “will lower costs and give us a baseline plan as we transition to Medicare for All.” Despite this promise, the plan will provide all the benefits:

Under my Medicare for All plan, we will also expand the program to include other benefits Americans desperately need that will save money in the long run–for instance, an expanded mental health program including telehealth and easier access to early diagnosis and treatment, and innovative patient navigator programs to help people identify the right doctor and understand how to navigate the health system. It will provide a serious auditing of prescription drug costs to ensure Americans aren’t paying more for their prescription drugs than other comparable countries; a comprehensive maternal & child health program to dramatically reduce deaths, particularly among women and infants of color; and meaningful rural health care reforms, such as increasing residency slots for rural areas with workforce shortages and expanding loan forgiveness for rural health care professionals, to promote high-quality access to people regardless of their zip code.

Harris repeated the same Obama promise: Yes, you can keep your doctor since “91% of eligible doctors participate in the Medicare program today.

Then Harris’s administration “will set up an extended Medicare system, with a 10-year phase-in period.” They will enroll in newborns automatically and the uninsured. The time period will allow enough time for doctors to get into the new system and those on Medicaid or using Obamacare to transition to her program. So private insurance companies can offer private Medicare options, but only if those options received certification from the Medicare program.

Harris’s administration will provide an opportunity for private insurance companies to offer Medicare plans. They must “adhere to strict Medicare requirements on costs and benefits.”

I find it precious that Harris wrote, “Health care is personal to people, and we should make sure we get it right.”

Okay…how about you leave me alone and let me handle my health care? Oh, wait. Harris declared that the government “can’t afford NOT to change the system.”

How Do We Pay For This?

This portion of Harris’s blog scares me (emphasis mine):

By extending the phase-in period to ten years, we will decrease the overall cost of the program compared to the Sanders proposal, and we can save additional money by accelerating delivery system reforms and value-based care that rewards meaningful outcomes. More than 200 economists have said we will dramatically save money over the long run if we expand the Medicare program to include everyone and limit profits for drug companies and insurance companies.

Harris wants the government to limit profits to private businesses. How do I economics?

Money does not grow on trees. How will Harris pay for this plan? WALL STREET, of course:

To pay for this specific change, I would tax Wall Street stock trades at 0.2%, bond trades at 0.1%, and derivative transactions at 0.002%. Think of it like this: that’s a $2 fee on a $1,000 trade by investors and big banks. I would also end foreign tax shelters by taxing offshore corporate income at the same rate as domestic corporate income. Together, these proposals would raise well over $2 trillion over ten years, more than enough to make up the difference from raising the middle-class income threshold.

These are the only details Harris provides. Then again, I don’t know how she can offer more specifics because no one honestly knows how much it will cost.

Harris declared her “plan will reduce our country’s health care costs and lower Americans’ out-of-pocket costs, all while extending health insurance coverage to every American.”

I want to know how it will reduce health care costs because private insurance companies will have to raise prices to offer Medicare plans. This is not difficult. You want to limit the profits of these companies, but they have to make a profit to provide a product. Why do so many people think the medical sector is exempt from basic economics?

We have detailed the effect of Obamacare on private insurance companies. My costs went up, which led me to choose a plan with a high deductible.

Someone also needs to inform Harris that she cannot just do this. I guess she can pass an executive order that she hates so much when President Donald Trump chooses that route.


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