Ms. Harris was also eager to draw a contrast with Mr. Sanders over the extent to which they would ask the middle class to help pay for their plans. Mr. Sanders has raised the possibility of imposing premiums equaling 4 percent of people’s income after the first $29,000 for a family of four. Critics have assailed that provision as politically unpalatable, but Mr. Sanders has said that families’ overall health costs would be significantly reduced.
Ms. Harris, on the other hand, would “exempt households making below $100,000, along with a higher income threshold for middle-class families living in high-cost areas,” according to her Medium post.
In the post, Ms. Harris made her version of Medicare for all sound similar to Mr. Sanders’s in terms of benefits. She said it would cover “all medically necessary services, including emergency room visits, doctor visits, vision, dental, hearing aids, mental health and substance use disorder treatment, and comprehensive reproductive health care services.”
Ms. Harris’s 10-year runway would “give all doctors time to get into the system, and provide a common-sense path for employers, employees, the underinsured, and others on federally-designated programs, such as Medicaid or the Affordable Care Act exchanges, to transition,” she wrote.
Mr. Sams said both Medicaid and the exchanges would be eliminated under Ms. Harris’s plan, but older Americans would continue to have the same coverage options they get now.
Like Mr. Sanders, Ms. Harris did not provide specific details of how she would pay for her plan but said she liked several of his ideas, especially imposing higher taxes on corporations and the top 1 percent of earners. She also said she liked the idea of modest increases in employer taxes to help pay for her plan; Mr. Sanders has suggested a 7.5 percent payroll tax on employers.
Mr. Sanders ran on the idea of a single-payer system in his 2016 presidential campaign, and his proposal has largely set the tone of the health care debate this time around, forcing rivals to establish their positions relative to his.