KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Views From The Campaign Trail: Analyzing The Innerworkings Of Sanders’ ‘Medicare-For-All’ Plan

Health policy opinions and editorials focus on Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders' single-payer health proposal.

Los Angeles Times: The Dream Of Medicare For All: Here's Why The Sanders Health Plan Is More Hope Than Change
Otto von Bismarck's famous definition of politics as "the art of the possible" gives us a good assessment of the single-payer health proposal unveiled by Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Sunday: impossible. That's not to say that the "Medicare for All" plan offered by Sen. Sanders (I-Vt.) is worthless. Quite the contrary. As an aspirational document it serves the valuable purpose of placing single-payer healthcare firmly in the forefront of our political debate. (Michael Hiltzik, 1/19)

Bloomberg View: Sanders' Health Care Plan Works In Europe
One of the more important arguments between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton during Sunday’s Democratic debate occurred over whether to push for “Medicare for all,” as Sanders insisted, or to build more slowly on the limited success of President Obama’s health care law. In Europe, all the big economies there have universal health-care systems under which everyone is insured. Even the most conservative politicians support them. (Leonid Bershidsky, 1/19)

The New York Times Upshot: For Now, Bernie Sanders’s Health Plan Is More Of A Tax Plan
If you read the news articles over the weekend about Senator Bernie Sanders’s new single-payer health reform plan, you might have thought you were reading about tax policy, not health care. That’s because the plan, released two hours before Sunday night’s Democratic debate, was full of details about the taxes that would be collected to finance it. The plan would charge a special income tax, called a premium, increase payroll taxes and raise a variety of taxes on high-income Americans, including income and capital gains taxes. Those are big, specific changes, worthy of detailed coverage. Missing, however, were more than a few sentences about how the proposal would change the health care system in the United States. (Margot Sanger-Katz, 1/19)

The Washington Post: Mr. Sanders Needs To Come Clean About The Funding For His Health-Care Plan
Previously a non-starter in American politics, democratic socialism is gaining traction due to the presidential campaign of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a nominal independent running as a Democrat. If Mr. Sanders is to close the sale with voters, he must show he has learned from socialism’s mixed history abroad and devised an updated version that will work in the United States. Judging by the sketchy single-payer health-care plan he unveiled just before Sunday’s Democratic debate, Mr. Sanders is not up to the challenge. (1/19)

Forbes: Bernie Sanders' Single-Payer Health Care Plan Would Increase Federal Spending By At Least $28 Trillion
While Sanders bills his plan as “Medicare for all,” it bears little resemblance to Medicare, which does in fact require premiums and cost-sharing from its enrollees, though this cost-sharing is heavily subsidized by younger taxpayers. In addition, Medicare does not cover every category of health care service, nor does it cover catastrophic health care needs. ... we owe Bernie Sanders and Gerald Friedman a measure of thanks. By unintentionally pointing out the utter foolishness of single-payer, government-run health care in America, they’ve given us more impetus to think about how we could make the health care system better—and expand access to more people—by putting individuals back in charge of their own health care dollars. (Avik Roy, 1/18)

Vox: Bernie Sanders’s Single-Payer Plan Isn’t A Plan At All
Sanders promises his health-care system will cover pretty much everything while costing the average American almost nothing, and he relies mainly on vague "administrative" savings and massive taxes on the rich to make up the difference. It's everything critics fear a single-payer plan would be, and it lacks the kind of engagement with the problems of single-payer health systems necessary to win over skeptics. (Ezra Klein, 1/17)

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