Now that Joe Biden has been confirmed as the presidential candidate for the 2020 election, many speculated about his possible running mates. In the end, Biden decided to run alongside former presidential nominee, Kamala Harris. Harris has a long track record as an attorney and U.S. Senator for the state of California. However, many older adults wonder how the possible Vice President views Medicare. So, what is Kamala Harris’s stance on Medicare going forward?

What Does Kamala Harris Want to Do to Medicare?

As a Vice Presidential candidate, it’s important to remember that Kamala Harris will need to stay in line with the goals of Joe Biden and the rest of the Democratic Party. As a result, Kamala Harris’ views on Medicare will largely align with what Joe Biden has demonstrated in various announcements and campaign speeches. So far, these are the changes to Medicare that the Biden campaign has proposed:

  • Lower the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 60
  • Add a “public option” for those who want lower costs but don’t qualify for Medicaid
  • A ban on “surprise billing”
  • Legislation to give the federal government more power to negotiate lower prescription drug prices
  • Expansions to existing elements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

Additionally, it’s important to remember that Joe Biden has branched off from some in the Democratic Party by showing a lack of support for “Medicare for All.” Biden’s primary concern with the “Medicare for All” is the large price tag. As a result, he prefers to make smaller changes to the existing healthcare system.

What Has Kamala Harris Said About Medicare?

However, this doesn’t tell us how Kamala Harris personally feels about Medicare. As a candidate for Vice President of the United States, Harris has the ability to shape future legislation on Medicare. As a result, her track record and opinions on healthcare matter.

As a presidential candidate, Kamala Harris favored “Medicare for All.” In fact, she made it one of the defining elements of her campaign. However, her plan differed from the plan put forward by Bernie Sanders and others in Congress. In Kamala Harris’s plan, government-funded insurance would compete with private insurers. In essence, it would allow anyone to acquire a form of Medicare Advantage under a private insurer or a publicly-funded plan.

While Kamala Harris has walked-back some of her proposals to align more closely with Joe Biden, she still believes that the current healthcare system needs significant changes. Fortunately, neither Harris nor Biden’s plans will take away benefits from Medicare beneficiaries. In fact, they want to expand Medicare to provide better benefits to even more Americans.

The Bottom Line

While Harris and Biden may differ in their view of “Medicare for All,” they both agree that Medicare should be expanded. These expansions could benefit current Medicare beneficiaries and older adults who will qualify in the coming years. However, there’s no guarantee that their proposals will pass through Congress. In any case, we will need to wait for the election results and the following months to know if any changes to Medicare will happen.

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