KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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In Aftermath Of Scalia’s Death, Clinton Highlights Individual Cases While Sanders Takes Broader Tactic

Both candidates are voicing concerns: Bernie Sanders cites frustration over Republican's "obstructionism," while Hillary Clinton is stressing the importance of cases on the docket -- including one on abortion rights. On the Republican side of the race, Ted Cruz is campaigning on his relationship with Justice Antonin Scalia -- even if they had a rocky start.

Politico: Clinton, Sanders Blaze Different Trails On Supreme Court Nomination
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have expressed their outrage at Republican threats to block President Barack Obama's choice to replace Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. That's where the similarities end. For Clinton, the opening on the court has provided a chance to aggressively talk about abortion rights, immigration reform and voting rights — issues that rile up her base and closely align her with the sitting president. Clinton, with deep support from Hispanic voters and the full weight of abortion rights groups behind her, reminds those blocs of their uncertain futures by singling out individual cases that could directly affect them. (Debenedetti, 2/16)

The New York Times: After A Rocky Start, Ted Cruz Had Success Before Justices
On the first Monday in October 2003, a 32-year-old lawyer who then called himself R. Edward Cruz made his first appearance before the justices. It did not go well. Mr. Cruz had only recently taken a job as the Texas solicitor general. ... Speaking in South Carolina on Monday, he described his two-decade relationship with Justice Scalia with favorite tales of his judicial prowess and wit. At that first argument, though, the relationship looked rocky. Mr. Cruz was making a states’ rights argument. Texas had agreed to settle a federal lawsuit accusing it of denying medical treatment to children. But Mr. Cruz said the state had the constitutional authority to ignore the settlement, one that had taken the form of a consent decree. Justice Scalia was not convinced. “Why would the other side ever accept such a consent decree?” he asked. “It’s crazy.” Mr. Cruz lost, nine to nothing. (Liptak and Flegenheimer, 2/16)

Meanwhile, The Washington Post looks at Ted Cruz's defining moment —

The Washington Post: For Ted Cruz, The 2013 Shutdown Was A Defining Moment
In 2013, freshman Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas said he had a plan to do something that seemed impossible. He could force President Obama to strip the funding from the landmark health-care law that had come to bear his name — Obamacare — by threatening to shut down the government. To some other conservatives, there was a problem with Cruz’s plan. It still seemed impossible. (Fahrenthold and Zezima, 2/16)

And Democratic leaders aren't panicking about Bernie Sanders. Yet —

McClatchy: Democratic Insiders: Sanders Doesn’t Worry Us. So Far.
Democratic regulars recoil at the potential labels Republicans could stick on [Vt. Sen. Bernie] Sanders. He’s proposing a $13.6 trillion, 10-year tax increase, and many proposals will hit the middle as well as wealthier classes. He wants universal health care for a nation still divided over the last massive overhaul, Obamacare. And there’s that socialist label. (Lightman, 2/17)

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