KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

Policy Perspectives: Medicare For All? Single-Payer As The Democrats’ ‘Party Consensus’

Opinion writers offer their thoughts on some big-ticket health reform concepts that range from Medicare for all to drug costs.

USA Today: Medicare For All Is The Only Health Care Proposal That Meets Trump's Standards
As a physician and longtime advocate for Medicare for all, I’m ready for an honest, bipartisan dialogue about the shortcomings of the ACA. However, in the last few weeks, I’ve read proposals to “fix” the ACA by funneling even more money to private insurers, or to lower premiums by stripping out patient protections. I’ve seen plans to let patients buy into Medicaid or Medicare, or to establish a public option to compete with private plans. But unlike a comprehensive single-payer program, these “band-aid” proposals are merely tweaks disguised as solutions. (Carol Paris, 9/1)

The Charlotte Observer: To Fix Health Care, Move Most Expensive Illnesses To Medicare
Political ideology may be masking an obvious, pragmatic solution in the raging national debate to reform health care. Instead of continuing to argue, let’s work together to fix the system by shifting the most expensive illnesses to Medicare. That will lower the risks to health insurers who then can cut premiums by as much as 40 percent. This idea can be the ultimate fix that makes health care affordable for most Americans. (J. Edward Bell, 8/31)

The Washington Post: ‘Single Payer’ Is Becoming Democratic Party Consensus. Here’s The Danger To Avoid.
At a town hall meeting in Oakland yesterday, Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.) — one of many Democrats who are considering running for president in 2020 — announced that she will be co-sponsoring a “Medicare for all” single-payer health-care bill that Bernie Sanders is introducing next month. While this isn’t a complete surprise, it’s an evolution for Harris, who up until now seemed to be edging in that direction but hadn’t come out emphatically for single payer. This tells us something important about where the Democratic Party is right now and where it’s going in the next few years. (Paul Waldman, 8/31)

The Wall Street Journal: Hopeful News Of The Week
Amid so much bad news out of Texas, our vote for hopeful story of the week goes to Gilead Sciences ’ bid to buy Kite Pharma Inc. for about $11 billion. That’s a big bet on a new type of cancer therapy based on genetically modifying a kind of immune cell known as T-cells. ... The treatment shows remarkable results in many patients, and the Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved the therapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. (8/31)

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