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Kamala Harris quickly walks back desire to eliminate private health insurers
Zach Gibson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Kamala Harris quickly walks back desire to eliminate private health insurers

That didn't take long

On Monday, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) made headlines by declaring that it was time to move on from private insurers and embrace a full-fledged single-payer healthcare system, with the federal government as the only insurer.

Less than 24 hours later, Harris was doing a little backpedal from that bold stance after the reactions to it were maybe not quite as positive as she'd hoped they'd be.

From CNN:

Republicans attacked Harris within minutes of her remarks, tweeting that she "says she wants to eliminate private insurance even if you like your plan." By Tuesday morning, former Starbucks boss Howard Schultz was piling on and fellow billionaire potential presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, was dismissing the entire plan as a fiscally ruinous pipe dream.

As the furor grew, a Harris adviser on Tuesday signaled that the candidate would also be open to the more moderate health reform plans, which would preserve the industry, being floated by other congressional Democrats. It represents a compromise position that risks angering "Medicare-for-all" proponents, who view eliminating private health insurance as key to enacting their comprehensive reform.

The adviser, Ian Sams, told CNN that this didn't mean she didn't believe in Medicare-for-all.

"Medicare-for-all is the plan that she believes will solve the problem and get all Americans covered. Period," Sams told CNN. "She has co-sponsored other pieces of legislation that she sees as a path to getting us there, but this is the plan she is running on."

During Monday night's CNN Town Hall, hosted by Jake Tapper, Harris said of private health insurers, "Let's eliminate all of that. Let's move on."

Even fellow Senate Democrats were hesitant about that idea.

"I don't want to guess what [Harris is] thinking, but that is a massive part of the American economy," Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said. "It would take a mighty transition to move from where we are to that."

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