Jan 29, 2019

Kamala Harris is sticking with Bernie's "Medicare for All"

Sen. Kamala Harris during the introduction to the Medicare for All Act of 2017. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) sure doesn't sound like she's planning to soften her support for Sen. Bernie Sanders' version of "Medicare for All." When asked by CNN's Jake Tapper about the Sanders bill during an interview last night, specifically asking whether people who like their existing plans could keep them.

What she's saying: "The idea is that everyone gets access to medical care, and you don't have to go through the process of going though an insurance company ... going through the paperwork. ... Let's eliminate all of that. Let's move on."

Between the lines: Harris cosponsored Sanders' bill, so in one sense this isn't surprising. So did fellow 2020 candidates Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and potential candidate Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.).

  • But even Sanders' bill is not necessarily a complete legislative package; it doesn't include measures to pay for its coverage expansion.
  • So it wouldn't be shocking to see some other Democratic candidates treat Sanders' bill as a jumping-off point and lay out their own version. But Harris seemed to be sticking with the most dramatic consequence of Sanders' proposal — the likely end of private health insurance.

Go deeper: The trends shaping health care in 2019

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Coronavirus spreads to more countries, and U.S. ups its case count

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. Meanwhile, Italy reported its first virus-related death on Friday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,359 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

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Wells Fargo agrees to pay $3 billion to settle consumer abuse charges

Clients use an ATM at a Wells Fargo Bank in Los Angeles, Calif. Photo: Ronen Tivony/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Wells Fargo agreed to a pay a combined $3 billion to the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday for opening millions of fake customer accounts between 2002 and 2016, the SEC said in a press release.

The big picture: The fine "is among the largest corporate penalties reached during the Trump administration," the Washington Post reports.