KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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At Debate, Clinton Knocks Sanders’ Medicare-For-All Plan: ‘The Numbers Don’t Add Up’

The Democratic candidates sparred over universal health care at their latest debate on Thursday, with Hillary Clinton painting Bernie Sanders' proposal as unrealistic. But Sanders defended his vision, saying "health care is a right of all people."

The New York Times: In Democratic Debate, Hillary Clinton Paints Bernie Sanders’s Plans As Unrealistic
Hillary Clinton, scrambling to recover from her double-digit defeat in the New Hampshire primary, repeatedly challenged the trillion-dollar policy plans of Bernie Sanders at their presidential debate on Thursday night and portrayed him as a big talker who needed to “level” with voters about the difficulty of accomplishing his agenda. ... Throughout the debate, Mr. Sanders demonstrated little capacity to broaden his political message in compelling new directions beyond overhauling the economy, campaign finance and health care. While he noted that his “Medicare for all” program would save the average middle-class family $5,000 a year, he did not present his vision in any new way or frame the issue in personal terms for average voters. (Chozick and Healy, 2/11)

The Associated Press: Debate Takeaways: Clinton, Sanders Appeal To SC, Nevada
Clinton took an aggressive stance on health care from the outset, arguing that Sanders' plan to create a universal health care system by expanding Medicare would undermine Obama's Affordable Care Act. She argued repeatedly that Sanders had failed to provide a specific way to pay for his plan, and turned the exchange into an overall critique of the Vermont senator's proposals. "In my case, whether it's health care, or getting us to debt-free tuition, or moving us toward paid family leave, I have been very specific about where I would raise the money, how much it would cost, and how I would move this agenda forward," Clinton said. Sanders countered that Clinton was not being accurate, casting the fight for universal health care as a matter of courage. He said he was the candidate willing to take on drug companies, the insurance industry and medical equipment suppliers who might be opposed to an overhaul. (2/11)

Reuters: Clinton And Sanders Battle In Debate Over Healthcare, Wall Street Ties
In a sixth presidential debate that featured several sharp exchanges but a more sedate tone than their last meeting, Clinton said Sanders' proposal for a single-payer, Medicare-for-all healthcare plan would mean dismantling Obamacare and triggering another intense political struggle. Sanders said he would not dismantle the healthcare plan known as Obamacare and was simply moving to provide what most industrialized countries have - healthcare coverage for all. (2/11)

USA Today: Clinton On Health Care: 'We Are Not England. We Are Not France'
Perhaps no issue illustrates the philosophical differences Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have to governing more than health care, the issue that led off Thursday's debate in Milwaukee. In detailing their approaches Thursday, Sanders emphasized his view that "health care is a right of all people." ... Clinton countered that she shares the goal of universal health care but that Sanders' plan amounted to starting over on the issue. "We are not England," she said. "We are not France," arguing that the U.S. health care system has historically been an employer-based system and that the focus should be on improving the existing Affordable Care Act. (Allen, 2/12)

The Associated Press: Fact Check: Clinton, Sanders On Health Care, Donors
In their latest debate, Hillary Clinton glossed over the big-money donors juicing her White House ambitions while Bernie Sanders offered disputed numbers behind his plan for a government-financed health system. ... More detail and analysis are needed on Sanders' plan for cradle-to-grave government-financed health care for all. But two early assessments suggest that the accounting comes up short. (2/11)

CNN: Democratic Debate: CNN's Reality Check Team Inspects The Claims
During Thursday's Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton said that "the Affordable Care Act has helped more African-Americans than any other group to get insurance, to be taken care of." While there is no doubt that the Affordable Care Act -- Obamacare -- helped a large number of African-Americans get health insurance, the legislation has actually resulted in more Latino adults gaining coverage than any other group. (Luhby, Cohen, Bohn, Crawford, Vashi, Rose, Bower, LoBianco, Grise, Browne and Grabow, 2/12)

The Washington Post: Sanders Says Single-Payer Health Care Can Happen In His First Term If ‘People Demand It’
Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders said that he has no hard timetable for moving to a single-payer health-care system if he wins the White House but that he hopes it’s something he could accomplish in his first term. ... In an interview here Wednesday, Sanders acknowledged that his plan wouldn’t pass “on Day One” of his presidency and said the lobbying strength in Congress of the insurance and pharmaceutical industries remains a big impediment. (Wagner, 2/11)

Meanwhile, on the Republican side of the 2016 race, John Kasich fires back after Jeb Bush brings up the Ohio governor's Medicaid expansion decision —

Columbus Dispatch: Kasich Responds To Bush's Attacks On Medicaid Expansion
The race for the Republican presidential nomination erupted in anger as Gov. John Kasich accused Jeb Bush of “trashing” his opponents following the former Florida governor’s criticism of Kasich using federal dollars to expand health coverage to low-income people. Not only did Kasich say Thursday that Bush might tarnish the legacy of a family which has produced two presidents, but John Weaver, Kasich’s top strategist, told reporters on a conference call that Bush’s campaign has “all the joy of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” (Torry and Wehrman, 2/11)

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