Fact Check: Where does Kamala Harris stand on health care?

Claim: “Joe Biden and Kamala Harris consistently talk about mandates and not just mandates with the coronavirus but a government takeover of health care,” Vice President Mike Pence said during his debate Wednesday with Sen. Kamala Harris.

Rating: Mostly false

Details: Harris’ position on health care coverage has often been murky since she became a senator in January 2017, but she no longer supports Medicare for All.

In August 2017, she enthusiastically backed Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All plan. “I intend to co-sponsor the Medicare for All bill because it’s just the right thing to do,” she tweeted.

In 2019, she began her run for the Democratic presidential nomination and told a CNN town hall in January “I believe the solution – and I actually feel very strongly about this – is that we need to have Medicare for all. That’s just the bottom line.”

Her support for the Sanders’ plan began to crack as her campaign continued.

During the Democrats’ first debate in June, Harris raised her hand when moderator Lester Holt of NBC News asked, “Who here would abolish their health insurance in favor of a government-run plan?”

After the debate, though, Harris told NBC she had misinterpreted the question. “In my vision of Medicare for All, it includes private insurance where people can have supplemental insurance,” she said.

A month later, she described her views in a piece for the Medium web site, saying “We will allow private insurers to offer Medicare plans as a part of this system that adhere to strict Medicare requirements on costs and benefits.”

Biden wants to strengthen the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, by boosting federal subsidies so people can more easily pay premiums. He also backs providing a “public option,” or government-run health care program that people could choose.

David Lightman is McClatchy’s chief congressional correspondent. He’s been writing, editing and teaching for 49 years, with stops in Hagerstown, Riverside, Calif., Annapolis, Baltimore and since 1981, Washington.

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