Health-care advocate and Santa Barbaran Ady Barkan met with presidential candidate Kamala Harris to discuss her proposed version of a Medicare for All plan. In the nine-minute video, which was released on Tuesday by NowThis News and is part of a larger series of interviews with other candidates, Harris was brought to tears as she recounted how her mother invited her and her sister to lunch and told them of her cancer diagnosis. “That was one of the worst days of my life, truly,” said Harris.
Previously, Harris had supported Bernie Sanders’s single-payer plan. Her own plan is a combination of private and public options that allow individuals to chose coverage by a private insurance company. She stated, “It will be a public system where we are going to have extended benefits … So this is not an independent system, and it’ll be our rules.”
Barkan, however, told Harris why he thinks that single-payer medicare would be the best choice. He pointed out that her plan has a 10-year transition period and millions of people would still be denied by a for-profit insurance companies after the transition. At the same time, billing costs can only decrease under a single-payer medicare insurance. “That will not happen if providers still have to bill numerous insurance companies,” he said. He also mentioned that backlash from the insurance companies is inevitable and a strong grassroots movement is required for change, “that enthusiasm only exists in Medicare for All.”
Harris disagreed, stating that within Day One people would be able to sign up for public insurances, and by five years, the majority of Americans would be covered. She said, “The problem with private insurance is that they’ve been writing the rules … If they don’t play by our rules, they don’t play. They literally will not be able to be in our system. “