KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Barbs Fly At Debate As Clinton, Sanders Battle Over Health Care

In the last Democratic faceoff before the Iowa caucuses, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders' heated words underscore the ever-narrowing race between the two. In a series of pointed exchanges, Clinton continued her attack on Sanders' newly released "Medicare for all" health plan, while Sanders went after her ties to Wall Street.

The New York Times: In Democratic Debate, Hillary Clinton Challenges Bernie Sanders On Policy Shifts
Hillary Clinton targeted Bernie Sanders’s electoral appeal with some of her strongest language yet in a debate on Sunday night, seizing on Mr. Sanders’s recent policy shifts on universal health care and gun control to try to undercut his image as an anti-political truth teller. ... With Mr. Sanders gaining on her before the Feb. 1 Iowa caucuses, Mrs. Clinton cast herself as the defender of Mr. Obama’s record and Mr. Sanders as playing into Republican hands with proposals like replacing the Affordable Care Act with a single-payer plan, which Mr. Sanders describes as “Medicare for all.” (Healy and Chozick, 1/17)

The Associated Press: Debate Takeaways: Gloves Come Off Between Clinton, Sanders
Health care emerged as a major dividing line, placing the future of President Barack Obama's health care law in the spotlight. Just two hours before the debate, Sanders released a proposal that would create a "Medicare for all" health care system funded by higher taxes on middle class families and the wealthy. Clinton warned that reopening the health care debate would put Obama's health care law at risk. (Thomas, 1/17)

Politico: Clinton And Sanders Brawl Over Doctors, Guns And Money
On the debate stage, Clinton positioned herself as the more pragmatic defender of the Affordable Care Act. “When you’re talking about health care, the details really matter,” Clinton said, “and therefore we have been raising questions about the nine bills that [Sanders] introduced over 20 years.” ... “We finally have a path to universal health care,” Clinton said. “We’ve accomplished so much. I do not want to see the Republicans repeal it, and I do not want us to start over again with a contentious debate. I want us to defend and build on the Affordable Care Act and improve it.” Sanders, raising his voice, shot back at Clinton: “What her campaign was saying -- Bernie wants to end Medicare, Medicaid -- that is nonsense.” (Karni, 1/17)

Politico: Sanders, Clinton Clash Over His New 'Medicare For All' Plan
Sanders denied he'd tear down Obamacare, noting that he had a role in drafting it and he voted for it. But he said he wants to build on it, and bring down the cost of health care which is still leaving the newly insured with big expenses. He also pointed out that nearly six years after Obamacare was enacted, around 29 million people are still uninsured. (Debenedetti, 1/17)

The Wall Street Journal: Democratic Debate: Hillary Clinton And Bernie Sanders Spar Ahead Of Iowa Caucuses
The harshest exchanges Sunday, as on the campaign trail in recent days, were over health care, and Mr. Sanders’s plan for a single-payer national health-care plan. Mrs. Clinton’s argument against his plan was essentially a political one: it isn’t smart, she said, to start over again at a time when the Affordable Care Act remains under attack from Republicans. She noted that even during the 2009-10 health-care debate, when Democrats had large majorities in both houses of Congress, there wasn’t sufficient support for a public option to compete with private health-insurance plans. (Meckler, Nicholas and McCain Nelson, 1/17)

The Washington Post: Clinton And Sanders Sharpen Their Tone As The Stakes Rise
With raised voices, interruptions and wonky examinations of one another’s voting records and policies, Sanders and Clinton battled over who had the more progressive or more workable solutions. Their exchanges were the most combative and personal of the campaign so far, reflecting the newly potent threat Sanders poses to Clinton in her second White House run. (Gearan and Rucker, 1/17)

Los Angeles Times: Sharp Clinton-Sanders Debate Foreshadows Primary Battles
Clinton's demand of loyalty to the president, and desire to retain her lofty standing among African American voters, was central to a lengthy dispute over healthcare. The national front-runner has proposed tweaking Obama's landmark healthcare law to improve it. Sanders, the Vermont senator whose support is greatest among white and young voters, has proposed moving to a fully government-funded plan that, he announced just before the debate, would be paid for by taxes on all but the poorest Americans. (Decker, Halper and Mehta, 1/18)

Los Angeles Times: Tightening Democratic Race Revives Party's Old Debate Over Healthcare
Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, is exciting liberal activists by championing a proposal where the government supplies healthcare in what’s known as a single-payer system, an elusive ideal that many on the left have demanded for more than half a century. Clinton argues that Obama’s hard-fought healthcare law, often called Obamacare, should be defended and improved. She has called for new consumer protections to lower the cost of prescription drugs and safeguard patients from surprise medical bills and limited insurance networks. The divergent views epitomize the differences between the candidates – Clinton as a battle-hardened realist, with Sanders the uncompromising crusader – and the healthcare debate has become one of the most rancorous parts of an increasingly competitive primary. (Megerian and Levey, 1/15)

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