Washington (CNN)Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday stressed the differences between his single-payer health care plan and a new proposal from Sen. Kamala Harris, labeling her approach “not Medicare for All.”
“Well, first of all, I like Kamala. She’s a friend of mine but her plan is not ‘Medicare for All,’ ” Sanders told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “The Lead” hosted from Detroit on Monday. “What Medicare for All understands is that health care is a human right and the function of a sane health care system is not to make sure that insurance companies and drug companies make tens of billions of dollars in profit.”
“The function of Medicare For All is to guarantee health care to all people as soon as possible,” Sanders continued.
Speaking to Harris’ goal to achieve Medicare for All in 10 years, Sanders said, “We think that four years is as long as it should be, not 10 years.”
“And that’s one of the reasons I disagree with Sen. Harris,” he added.
Harris’ proposal seeks to occupy a middle ground between Medicare for All champions like Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and more moderate voices on health care like former Vice President Joe Biden, who has advocated for reforms to the current system.
Harris wrote in a post outlining her plan that Medicare would “set the rules of the road.”
“We will allow private insurers to offer Medicare plans as part of this system that adhere to strict Medicare requirements on costs and benefits,” she said. “Medicare will set the rules of the road for these plans, including price and quality, and private insurance companies will play by those rules, not the other way around.”
Warren told CNN Monday that while she hadn’t “seen the details” of Harris’ plan, she emphasized her support for Medicare for All.
“I’m not here to attack other Democrats. I’m here to talk about what I believe in,” she said. “And as I’ve tried to make clear, I believe that health care is a basic human right. And I will fight for basic human rights. That means Medicare for all as the best possible way to give us maximum coverage at the lowest possible cost.”
Sanders has remained an unwavering voice for Medicare for All as fellow 2020 Democratic candidates have launched escalating attacks on his approach.
“Medicare for All critics tell us that Americans just love their private health insurance companies,” Sanders said earlier this month. “You know what? I have never met one person who loves their insurance company.”
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