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Ross: Kamala Harris and radical health care

Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris, of California, waves to the crowd as she formally launches her presidential campaign at a rally in her hometown of Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

Presidential candidate Kamala Harris wants a Medicare For All plan to replace private insurance.

That stance led to this exchange on CNN.

Jake Tapper:  “So for people out there who like their insurance – they don’t get to keep it?”

Harris: “Well, listen the idea is everyone gets access to medical care. Who of us has not had that situation where you gotta wait for approval and the doctor says, ‘Well, I don’t know of your insurance company is going to cover this.’ Let’s eliminate all of that. Let’s move on.”

She received a stern Twittering for that. Even from some fellow Democrats.

But it got me thinking. How do we choose which of life’s risks should require insurance?

We need protection from foreign enemies, but we don’t buy war insurance. We pay the government to do that. Because no one, rich or poor, should be vulnerable to foreign attacks.

All of us need clean air, but nobody carries air insurance. It’s the EPA’s job to insure that every one, rich or poor, can safely breathe.

Fire departments used to be run by insurance companies. If you didn’t pay up, they’d let your house burn. In wildfire areas, there are still private fire departments. But generally, we want fire departments that will put out every fire because fires tend to be contagious. Like sickness can be.

So the real health care question is: who should be denied treatment when their money runs out? If someone could just answer that, this debate might finally get somewhere.

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