KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Talk About Single Payer: What About Workers Who Like Their Plans; ‘Pivotal Moment’ For U.S.

Opinion writers examine the "Medicare for All" movement and other aspects of the national health care debate.

Bloomberg: Incentives Are All Wrong For Single-Payer Health Care
There’s an obvious problem with moving Americans to a single-payer system: Most people with private health insurance are pretty happy with their current arrangements. They are not looking to trade in that coverage for a new government program of uncertain quality, along with unknown higher taxes. When President Barack Obama was selling the Affordable Care Act, he promised Americans that they could keep their health insurance if they wanted to. When this didn’t turn out to be true for everyone, there was a significant backlash. (Tyler Cowen, 9/12)

The New York Times: Why We Need Medicare For All
This is a pivotal moment in American history. Do we, as a nation, join the rest of the industrialized world and guarantee comprehensive health care to every person as a human right? Or do we maintain a system that is enormously expensive, wasteful and bureaucratic, and is designed to maximize profits for big insurance companies, the pharmaceutical industry, Wall Street and medical equipment suppliers? We remain the only major country on earth that allows chief executives and stockholders in the health care industry to get incredibly rich, while tens of millions of people suffer because they can’t get the health care they need. This is not what the United States should be about. (Sen. Bernie Sanders, 9/13)

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Baldwin: Why I Support Medicare For All
Every American should have affordable health coverage, and there is more we can do to make that a reality. I always have believed that our goal must be universal health care coverage for everyone, and my support for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All legislation being introduced this week is a statement of that belief. (Sen. Tammy Baldwin, 9/12)

Bloomberg: How Democrats Have Steered Clear Of GOP's Mistakes
Are Democratic advocates for single-payer health care the mirror image of repeal-and-replace Republicans, substituting a feel-good slogan for actual policy development? Probably not. It's tempting to believe that's a likely outcome of Bernie Sanders's crusade for single-payer, which is picking up momentum within the party despite the fact that Sanders seems mostly indifferent to the details of the issue. But I think it's a big mistake to equate Sanders with repeal-and-oh-we'll-figure-it-out-later Republicans. (Jonathan Bernstein, 9/12)

The Washington Post: Democrats Are Rushing To Embrace Single Payer. Can It Be A Political Winner?
One of the most important political trends of the last couple of decades is what is often referred to as “asymmetric polarization,” which means that while Democrats were getting more liberal, Republicans were getting much, much more conservative. That trend, however, may be entering a new phase. In many policy areas, it’s almost impossible for the GOP to get any more conservative than it has become, while Democrats are continuing to move left. Nowhere is this clearer than on health care. (Paul Waldman, 9/12)

The Washington Post: Single-Payer Won’t Pass Now. But Its Popularity Proves Our Morals Are Changing.
Single-payer universal health care — once cast as a radical daydream — has moved with staggering swiftness from purported fantasy to palpable possibility. Today, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) released his long-awaited single-payer bill, and a slew of senators now numbering in the double digits have announced their support. This bill will serve as a potent Senate counterpart to Rep. John Conyers Jr.’s (D-Mich.) single-payer bill, now co-sponsored by 117 representatives — a historic and unprecedented majority of House Democrats. Far from being an impossibility, the idea that we might create a right to health care is starting to feel like an inevitability. (Adam Gaffney, 9/13)

The Washington Post: I Watched My Patients Die Of Poverty For 40 Years. It’s Time For Single-Payer.
Sarai was 25 years old when she died of Wilson’s disease, an inherited disorder that causes liver failure. A liver transplant could have cured her, but she was uninsured and was denied an appointment at two prominent Chicago transplant hospitals, including my own. ... Her death certificate named liver disease as her cause of death, but that’s not true. The real cause was inequality. If the United States had a Medicare-for-all health insurance system, she might have been saved. (David A. Ansell, 9/13)

Los Angeles Times: If The GOP Would Only Give Up On Repeal And Replace It Could Actually Make Healthcare More Affordable
Time is rapidly running out before health insurers have to commit to the policies and premiums they’ll offer next year to roughly 20 million Americans not covered by an employer-sponsored health plan. Although those premiums are expected to jump 10% or more in many states, Congress can rein in that increase significantly — if it acts quickly. Doing so, however, will require Senate Republicans to stop flirting with yet another partisan proposal to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, and start focusing instead on steps to make coverage more affordable that can win broad support. (9/12)

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