Kamala Harris Assures ‘You Can Keep Your Doctor’ With Medicare for All

POLITICS & POLICY
Senator Kamala Harris (D, Calif.) at the North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) 2019 legislative conference in Washington, D.C., April 10, 2019. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris made a familiar promise Wednesday about Medicare for All, assuring voters that “you can keep your doctor” under her plan.

“People think, ‘Well, maybe is this going to mean that I need to, that I’ll have to worry about not being able to see my doctor,’” the California senator said on Jimmy Kimmel Live. “Ninety-one percent of the doctors in America are in Medicare. And those that are not are mostly pediatricians, the 9 percent. And you know why they’re not in Medicare because Medicare doesn’t cover children. But when we have ‘Medicare for All’ that will not be any longer the case, which means that the vast majority of doctors will be in that system, and you can keep your doctor under that system.”

Former president Barack Obama made a similar promise, pledging that “If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor,” under the Affordable Care Act, his administration’s signature piece of legislation.

Harris originally said she would eliminate the private health insurance market should she become president, but she has since backtracked those statements, saying instead that “it has to happen over a period of time.”

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“There’s no question, we would have to go from the current system into a Medicare for all system and transition into it,” she said last month. “But the idea there would be any substantial difference in terms of the health care people receive — it’s just not accurate.”

The former California attorney general, who is a co-sponsor of Senator Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All legislation, also said the transition would be “seamless” from private health insurance plans to a single-payer healthcare system plan for Americans whose private plans would become illegal if the U.S. adopted Medicare for All.

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