Kamala Harris' 'Medicare for All' plan slammed as example of abortion 'extremism'

Presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif, speaks at the Poor People's Campaign Moral Action Congress in Washington, D.C. on June 17, 2019.
Presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif, speaks at the Poor People's Campaign Moral Action Congress in Washington, D.C. on June 17, 2019. | The Christian Post

A leading pro-life advocate is speaking out against the "Medicare for All" plan proposed by 2020 Democrat presidential candidate Kamala Harris, concerned that it would allow taxpayer funding for abortion. 

Harris, a U.S. senator and former attorney general of California, wrote an op-ed published Monday outlining the specifics of her Medicare platform at a time when many Democrat presidential hopefuls say they support the idea of "Medicare for All" but have different ideas on how it would be implemented. 

"Medicare works; it's popular," Harris said, claiming the system in place is "already working." 

"Now, let’s expand it to all Americans and give everyone access to comprehensive health care," she continued. "Medicare for All will 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," including abortion. 

Harris said that if the plan were to pass, all Americans will have the ability to buy into Medicare, a similar idea to the introductory buy-in included in Sen. Bernie Sanders' Medicare for All legislation. 

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But unlike Sanders, Harris said her plan would allow private insurers to offer Medicare plans if they "adhere to strict Medicare requirements on costs and benefits."

"Medicare will set the rules of the road for these plans, including price and quality, and private insurance companies will play by those rules, not the other way around," Harris wrote. "This preserves the options that seniors have today and expands options to all Americans, while also telling insurance companies they don’t run the show."

Harris' op-ed drew the ire of the Susan B. Anthony List, one of the nation's leading pro-life lobbying and grassroots organizations, which took issue with Harris' promise that "Medicare for All" will cover "reproductive health care services." 

SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser, who served as the chair of the Trump 2016 campaign's pro-life coalition, decried the plan as "yet another example of Democrats’ extremism on abortion."

“The latest call for taxpayer-funded abortion on demand through birth under Medicare for All might please the Democrats’ most radical pro-abortion base in the primaries, but this agenda is wildly unpopular with the American people, including a strong majority of Independents and more than a third of Democrats who oppose taxpayer funding of abortion," Dannenfelser stated.  

"While her rivals have become more brazen in their desire to force taxpayers to pay for abortions, Harris now hides her support for abortion on demand behind the euphemism of ‘reproductive health.’ The American people deserve clarity.”  

Harris has been clear about her position on abortion throughout her career. 

As California attorney general, she prosecuted pro-life activists David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, who published a series of undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood leaders discussing their openness to violating federal law regulating the sale of aborted babies' tissue, organs and limbs. 

In May, Harris suggested that if she is elected, her administration would force states that have passed laws restricting access to abortion to seek approval from her Justice Department to determine if such laws are constitutional. 

Such a requirement would be similar to states that were required to seek federal approval under the Voting Rights Act of 1965 if they had a history of racial discrimination. 

Harris vowed that pre-clearance would only be granted to laws that don't violate either Roe v. Wade or the Women's Health Protection Act, a not-yet-passed bill that Harris co-sponsored that would prohibit states from interfering in a health care providers' provision of abortion to a patient. 

While some states have passed bills limiting abortion past certain periods of gestation, a Texas bill tried to force abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges and clinics to be regulated as surgical centers. Such provisions were struck down by the Supreme Court in 2016. 

In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a similar rule forcing certain states to receive clearance from the federal government before making changes to voting procedures under the Voting Rights Act. 

Harris' op-ed also drew criticism from the Sanders Campaign, which sent out an email to supporters saying that Harris' plan can't be called "Medicare for All."

"Her plan is centered around privatizing Medicare, enriching insurance executives and introducing more corporate greed and profiteering into the Medicare system - and even then, waiting 10 years before any changes happen."

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the crowded field of 20 Democrat presidential candidates will participate across two nights of debate that will air on CNN. 

Just like in the previous debates last month, the candidates will likely have a chance to discuss both the issues of abortion and health care. 

According to Real Clear Politics average of national polling on the 2020 Democratic nomination, Harris is in fourth place with 10.5 percent. In first place is former Vice President Joe Biden with 32 percent. 

Follow Samuel Smith on Twitter: @IamSamSmith

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