KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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After Drug Makers, Insurers Could Be Next Target Of Clinton’s Attacks Over Health Costs

“People may remember that I took on the health insurance industry back in the nineties,” Hillary Clinton said at a recent event in Iowa. In other 2016 election news, a bipartisan group examines Sen. Bernie Sanders' plan to pay for universal health care and reports that it falls far short of estimates and The Washington Post's Fact Checker calls out Sen. Ted Cruz's premium claims.

Bloomberg: Even As Clinton Bashes Drugmakers, Insurers Still May Feel Heat
“Price-gouging.” “Predatory.” “Outrageous.” Those are just a few of the barbs presidential candidates, including Hillary Clinton, have thrown the way of the pharmaceutical industry this campaign season. That rhetoric helped sink drug and biotech stocks over the last six months and has overshadowed the candidates’ criticism of the rest of the health-care system, including insurers. Yet those businesses could be just as much at risk if the next president, whoever that may be, persists in calling out health-care companies on cost. (Tracer, 2/3)

The Wall Street Journal: Bernie Sanders’s Tax Increases Fall Short Of Paying For Health Plan, Analysis Finds
Bernie Sanders‘s plan to pay for government-provided health care falls more than $3 trillion short of his campaign’s estimates, according to a budget watchdog group. The plan, which includes new taxes on employers, new income taxes on all Americans and steeply higher tax rates on high-income households, would raise about $10.7 trillion over the next decade, not the $13.9 trillion the campaign projected, according a report being released Wednesday by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a bipartisan group. (Rubin, 2/2)

The Washington Post's Fact Checker: Ted Cruz Resurrects A Very Stale Obamacare Claim
“President Obama told the American people that under Obamacare the average family’s premium would drop $2,500. In fact, the average family’s premiums have risen $3,000. Now, Chris [Wallace], if you’re a single mom, if you’re struggling to feed your kids, $5,500, that is real money that you can’t provide for your family.” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), [said in an] interview on Fox News. A version of this claim was first made in the 2012 campaign. And yet it keeps popping up, presumably because it sounds like such a delicious talking point. But four years later, it still isn’t right. So, once again, here’s why this is nonsense math. (Kessler, 2/3)

Meanwhile, Modern Healthcare looks at if and how health policy affected the Iowa caucuses —

Modern Healthcare: Did Healthcare Policy Issues Play A Role In The Iowa Presidential Caucus Results?
After attacking Donald Trump over the weekend for his previous favorable remarks about single-payer healthcare, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz squeaked out a victory over the billionaire New York developer in the Iowa presidential caucuses Monday night, with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio trailing close behind. ... It's unclear whether healthcare policy issues played a role in the GOP caucus results, but some observers believe [Vermont Sen. Bernie] Sanders' support for single-payer helped him energize his supporters in the Democratic race. (Meyer, 2/2)

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