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2 Harris fact checks: On Medicare-for-all and emergency cash

Medicare-for-all “doesn’t get rid of all insurance.”

— Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.)

Harris is a co-sponsor of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s Medicare-for-all bill, which envisions a single-payer health-care system with virtually no role for private health-care insurance. That would be a big change for most Americans: In 2017, according to the Census Bureau, 67 percent of Americans — 217 million people — received health insurance through a private plan, mostly through their employer. Yet Harris gamely insists there would still be a role for insurance companies (even though Sanders does not).

As a practical matter, the Sanders plan proposes to cover such a comprehensive set of benefits that there would be virtually no role for private insurance.

“Forty percent of Americans say they don’t have enough cash to cover a $400 emergency expense.”

— Harris

This statistic is courtesy of a Federal Reserve report on the “Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households.” But the report noted the ratio is an improvement from 2013, when half of the adults said they were “ill-prepared for such an expense.” In 2017, 59 percent said they could cover the expense, a significant increase, and the number grew to 61 percent in 2018. With the continued growth of the economy, the figure is probably even higher in 2019.

Fact-checking the first Democratic debate

Twenty candidates are taking the stage Wednesday and Thursday night, with 10 candidates each night. The Fact Checker will be watching and vetting the statements candidates make.