Sen. Kamala Harris took to Twitter Wednesday night to announce her plans to co-sponsor Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ new “Medicare for All” bill. Harris, a Democrat from California, first revealed her plans at a town hall in her hometown of Oakland, California, according to a report from August 31, 2017">CNN.
“Here, I’ll break some news: I intend to co-sponsor the Medicare-for-all bill, because it’s just the right thing to do,” Harris said.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) August 31, 2017
But what does “Medicare for All” really mean for the average American?
According to Sanders’ blueprint, listed on his website, his plan would create a universal, federally administered single-payer health care program. This means comprehensive health care coverage for all Americans, covering everything in the realm of health care.
“Patients will be able to choose a health care provider without worrying about whether that provider is in-network and will be able to get the care they need without having to read any fine print or trying to figure out how they can afford the out-of-pocket costs,” the plan states. “As a patient, all you need to do is go to the doctor and show your insurance card – no more co-pays, no more deductibles, and no more fighting with insurance companies when they fail to pay for charges.”
The plan would cost an estimated $1.36 trillion per year, with the United States currently spending $3 trillion on healthcare each year and would save the average middle class family over $5,000. CBS News reports the plan will be paid using a combination of income tax rates, a 6.2 percent income-based premium paid by employers, and a 2.2 percent income based premium paid by households.
Sanders also took to Twitter Wednesday night to thank Harris for throwing her support behind the bill.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) August 30, 2017
For Harris, Sanders’ plan is a step in the right direction when it comes to health care reform and making quality health care accessible to more people.
“There’s no question that people should have access to affordable health care, and as we talk about moving toward a single-payer system, I think there is certainly energy and momentum toward that,” Harris said.
Harris went on to say that the move makes sense not just from a moral standpoint, but an economic one as well.
“This is about understanding again, that health care should be a right, not a privilege,” Harris said. “And it’s also about being smart. It is so much better that people have meaningful access to affordable health care at every stage of life, from birth on. Because the alternative is that we as taxpayers otherwise are paying huge amounts of money for them to get their health care in an emergency room. So it’s not only about what is morally and ethically right, it also makes sense from a fiscal standpoint, or if you want to talk about it as a return on investment for taxpayers.”
Harris’ co-sponsorship of the bill is also a sign that the Democratic party is moving away from the private health insurance market, according to CNN, favoring a federally run program instead.