The problem: Bernie Sanders does not want to get rid of all private insurance

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"I want you to understand why I'm fighting so hard for the Affordable Care Act" Clinton said in Iowa late January 2016. "I do not want the project to be repealed, I do not want us to go back to a terrible national debate, I do not want to end up in an impasse, people can not wait, people who have a health emergency We look forward to having a theoretical debate on a better idea that will never materialize. "
Between this race and the start of the 2020 competition, many things have changed. Sanders' "Medicare for All" proposal has become the default position for many of the 2020 candidates – notably Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California; who all see their support for the measure as a means of mobilize liberal voters who were the backbone of Sanders' surprisingly successful bid for 2016.

"The good news is that before running for the presidency in 2016, this idea was considered a crazy and crazy idea," Sanders told Wolf Blitzer Monday at a CNN town hall. "Today, a significant majority of the population supports this concept."

Which is generally true. A recent survey of the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that 56% of the population is in favor of a system managed by the government. But this poll question – and the broader debate on "Medicare for all" – left out a crucial piece of information: according to Sanders' plan, private health insurance would be totally and totally eliminated – an idea that is a) much more controversial and b) much less popular.
This same Kaiser poll found that support for "Medicare for All" fell by 21 percentage points when respondents learned that the program would eliminate private health insurance companies.

But at CNN's town hall on Monday night, Sanders made it clear that he had no plans to protect his position. Here is the key exchange between Sanders and Blitzer:

BLITZER: Senator, let's talk about Medicare for All, because about half of Americans, as you know, are insured by their employer plans. According to a recent Gallup poll, 70% of people with private health insurance plans, like their plans. They think their plans are good.

Will these people be able to keep their health insurance plan, their private plan …?

SANDERS: No.

BLITZER: … by their employers, if there is a Medicare for All program that you approve?

SANDERS: What are they going to do – what will change in their plans, that is the color of their map. So, instead of having a Blue Cross Blue Shield card, instead of having a UnitedHealth Insurance card, they will have a Medicare card. This health insurance card will allow them, Wolf, to go to the doctor of their choice. If they go to the doctor, they are happy. No matter which hospital they want.

But what else do you know? They will not pay any private insurance premium. If they are older, we will expand Medicare benefits to cover dental care, which is not the case for the elderly, hearing aids and eyewear. There will be comprehensive health care. People can go to the doctor, dentist or hospital of their choice.

BLITZER: So, if they like their health insurance plan, they will not be able to keep their health insurance plan?

SANDERS: Wolf, no one – this case to love your health insurance plan, as employers change every year – people like their doctors. They like hospitals. They love the care that they receive. Our bill, in fact, right now, if you follow a particular program, you may not be able to see the doctor you want. Our program will allow you the freedom of choice.

What is clear from this exchange is that it is the political hill on which Sanders chose to die (or to be victorious). He will not bleach in the polls – as Wolf rightly cited – this shows that people prefer to keep private insurance with a public option. Or at the proposed cost – The Sanders website says it would cost $ 1.38 billion a year, while more conservative economists say the price will be much higher. – which would greatly increase taxes, especially on the wealthiest Americans.

The question now to all race participants who do not call Sanders is: how do they react? Signing as a cosponsor of the Senate a bill that will never see the light of day – the Republican majority does not raise it – is very different from running for president to support a program that would get rid of all private insurance in the country and would be very expensive.

We have already seen some sort of Harris cover, or maybe not! – his position. At a CNN City Hall last month, here's how Harris answered the "Medicare for All" question:

"Well, listen, the idea is that everyone has access to medical care, and you will not have to go through the process of going through an insurance company, getting them approved, going through the paperwork Who among us has not experienced this situation, where we have to wait for approval, and the doctor says: well, I do not know if your insurance company will cover that? Let's eliminate all this. . "

Except that in a CNN story the next dayit happened:

"As anger grew, a Harris adviser announced Tuesday that the candidate would also be open to more moderate health reform plans, which would preserve the industry, launched by other congressional Democrats. represents a compromise position likely to anger "Medicare for supporters of All All, who consider that the elimination of private health insurance is essential to implement their comprehensive reform."

Harris's campaign rejected the idea that she was covering, explaining that although her goal was "Medicare for all", she was also in favor of other legislation aimed at increasing the number of people covered.

The difference between Sanders' position and the one I think is that of Harris is: Sanders believes that "Medicare for All" is the only feasible way to right the wrongs of the current health care system. And these half-measures – like the one Harris supports, which she supports – do not really bring the country to the difficult but necessary solution to get rid of the private insurance sector.

In other words, Harris considers that the fight for the future of the health care industry in the country is a proposal "both / and". Sanders sees him as a "or / or".

This difference could be critical as the main battle heats up. Health care is already becoming one of the central fights of the primary and general elections of 2020 and it is clear that Sanders, at least, is doing everything to please with regard to "Medicare for All".