Presidential candidate Kamala Harris is filling in the details of how she would move 330 million Americans onto a single government health insurance system.
Biden, the front-runner right now in the 2020 Democratic race and the only top-tier contender who doesn't support a single-payer Medicare-for-all system, has repeatedly taken jabs this month at Harris over a lack of straightforwardness on how she'd pay for her plan.
Harris attempts to manage transition worries by providing for a 10-year transition, in contrast to the four-year changeover called for by the Sanders plan.
It extends the transition period for reaching universal coverage to 10 years, compared to four years in Sanders' plan.
Mr Sanders has said as recently as this month that the sweeping overhaul of the U.S. health system he envisions could cost up to 40 trillion United States dollars over a decade, and he has said that one option for paying for it would be a 4% tax hike on families making more than 29,000 USA dollars each year.
The senator from California's plan differs from the other progressive presidential candidates who would eliminate private insurance.
"Essentially, we would allow private insurance to offer a plan in the Medicare system, but they will be subject to strict requirements to ensure it lowers costs and expands services", Harris said. She envisions a role for private insurers as long as they follow the government's rules. "If not, they have to get out", Harris wrote in a post on the online publishing platform Medium.
Mr Biden, with whom Ms Harris memorably clashed during the first Democratic debates in Miami, has warned that a transition to a Medicare For All system could present coverage risks for Americans who defend on the Affordable Care Act. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), but ran into trouble at the first debate when she raised her hand to indicate that she supported ending private insurance. "Right now, the US spends $3.5 trillion a year on health care". "Bernie has been honest that it's going to cost a tax on the middle class", Biden told reporters Wednesday in Detroit, referring to Bernie Sanders' acknowledgment that his Medicare for All Act would increase taxes.More news: Judge recommends firing NYPD officer for his involvement in Eric Garner's death
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Harris said all medically necessary services will be covered, including emergency room visits, doctor visits, dental, hearing aids, mental health, substance use treatment and comprehensive reproductive health care services.
For example, more than 7 in 10 respondents said it is "very important" to prevent insurers from denying coverage to those with preexisting conditions, while 64% said it is "very important" to prevent them from charging sick people higher premiums than they charge healthy people. Indeed, Harris specifically rejects Sanders' proposal for a 4 percent "premium" on households making more than $29,000 annually, reserving that fee for families with incomes over $100,000, and further adjustments for high-cost areas.
"I find that people will say they're for Medicare-for-all but they're not going to tax the middle class because we don't need to do that". She previously appeared to suggest that she supported abolishing private insurance but later clarified that she does not.
She said her plan would mean the same benefits as Mr. Sanders' proposal but with somewhat lower costs and more options.
Advocates of Sanders's single-payer insurance plan were quick to criticize the Harris proposal.
Third, Harris's plan calls for a less-substantial middle-class tax increase than Sanders's does.
"Together, these proposals would raise well over $2 trillion over ten years, more than enough to make up the difference from raising the middle-class income threshold", she said.
Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir took aim at Harris's plan Monday.