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Detroit — U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris defended her health care plan at Wednesday's Democratic presidential debate, fighting off allegations that it would cost Democrats the election in 2020.

Harris, 54, of California, touted a Medicare for All plan that’s funded by taxes on Wall Street and preserves a role for private insurers.

 "The bottom line is this, we must agree that access to health care must be a right and not just a privilege of those who can afford it."

HARRIS ON THE ISSUES

Race: Asked whether she agreed with former Vice President Joe Biden that her position opposing federally-mandated busing is the same as his position, Harris said no way.

"That is simply false...When Vice President Biden was in the U.S. Senate, working with segregationist to oppose busing...had I've been in the United States Senate at that time, I would have been completely on the other side of the aisle."

Harris said had those segregationists had their way, "I would not be a member of the U.S Senate, Cory Booker would not be a member of the U.S. Senate and Barack Obama would not have been in a position to nominated."

CLOSE

Tulsi Gabbard goes after Kamala Harris' record as a prosecutor and attorney general, including a controversial death penalty case. CNN

Criminal justice reform: Harris opposes the death penalty.

"And I dare anybody who's in a position to make that decision to face the people I have faced to say I will not seek the death penalty. That is my background. That is my work. I am proud of it. I think you can judge people by how they are under fire. And it's not about some fancy opinion on a stage."

Environment: Harris supports passage of the Green New Deal.

"We currently have a president in the White House who obviously does not understand the science," Harris said. "He's been pushing science fiction instead of science fact. The guy thinks that wind turbines cause cancer."

Immigration: Harris wants to decriminalized border crossings. She spoke of a recent visit to a detention center in Florida.

"There is a private detention facility being paid for by your taxpayer dollars, a private detention facility that currently houses 2,700 children....I walked down the road I climbed the ladder and I looked over the fence and I'm gonna tell you what I saw: children lined up single file based on gender. Being walked into barracks...The policies of this administration have been facilitated by laws on the books."

jchambers@detroitnews.com

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