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It's Not Over Between Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris on Medicare for All

Bernie wants you to know his "clarification" on Medicare for All is in no way like Kamala Harris' "clarification."

by Liz Landers
Aug 28 2019, 2:56pm

Sen. Bernie Sanders wants you to know he did not change his Medicare for All plan.

But he did tweak it.

The Vermont independent released a “clarification” of his plan geared toward labor unions skeptical about Medicare for All in a bid to win their support last week. The tweak would allow unions that negotiated their own healthcare plans with employers to take back the savings when their employers convert to a Medicare for All system, according to the plan.

"Under this plan, all company savings that result from reduced health care contributions from Medicare for All will accrue equitably to workers in the form of increased wages or other benefits,” he said in a VICE News interview, which will air in full on VICE News Tonight on HBO on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

This change came a few days before Sanders secured his first major union endorsement of the primary cycle from the Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America at their national convening in Pittsburgh on Monday.

But Sanders was quick to point out that the “clarification” does not change the actual text of his Medicare for All bill “by one word.”

When asked about his clarification on his plan compared to Kamala Harris’ clarifying her views over the course of the past few months — something the Sanders’ campaign has criticized her for — the senator was quick to say her views have changed significantly.

"Kamala Harris has changed her views on the health care plan,” he said. “I have not changed my view on the health care plan. All that I've changed my views is if an employer, if an employer is spending less money on health care than they used to. Who benefits that our health care plan was not changed by one word. Kamala Harris changed her views on her health care plan in a very significant way.”

Harris National Press Secretary Ian Sams told VICE News in an email, "Senator Harris put forward her own health care plan that experts and analysts have said is the best way to get us to universal coverage and most reflects expanding the actual Medicare program to all Americans.”

Bloomberg reporting from earlier this month revealed that Harris expressed doubt about Sanders’ Medicare for All Senate legislation — a plan she endorsed — during a fundraiser in the Hamptons, saying that she has “not been comfortable with Bernie’s plan.”

Sanders told VICE News that it was “her privilege” to change her mind on the legislation.

Cover: Sen. Bernie Sanders, an Independent from Vermont and 2020 presidential candidate, speaks during the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Summer Meeting in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. (Photo: Michael Short/Bloomberg via Getty Images)