Latest Morning Briefing Stories

Bernie Sanders Is Promising His Supporters ‘Medicare For All,’ But It’s Likely Dead-On-Arrival In Congress

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Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has made his “Medicare for All” a lynchpin of his campaign. But there isn’t much support for it from the lawmakers whose help he would need to get is passed. Meanwhile, The New York Times looks at what it took other countries to get to universal health care, and the history isn’t pretty. Meanwhile House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) plans to unveil legislation to address high health costs in order to offer coverage for vulnerable moderate Dems.

Government Health Plans To Pay For Testing; Private Insurers Vow To Ease Cost Concerns As Well

KHN Morning Briefing

As federal officials promise that Medicare, Medicaid and ACA plans will have the costs of their tests covered, some private insurers promise they will cover diagnostic testing when ordered by a doctor, ease network, referral and prior authorization requirements and/or waive patient cost sharing. States have been taking steps to ease cost concerns over testing, as well.

Supreme Court To Take Up Health Law Case To Dems Delight, But Don’t Expect Decision Before The Election

KHN Morning Briefing

The Trump administration said it was premature for the Supreme Court to get involved in the case, but the justices agreed to add it to their docket. While the decision itself isn’t likely to come before the November elections, Democrats are excited that the issue — something these see as a winning topic for themselves — will be kept front of mind voters.

Colorado Unveils Public Option Reimbursement Rates That Officials Say Will Help Hospitals Remain Profitable

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The Colorado Health Insurance Option formula’s base rate is 155% of Medicare rates, but hospitals’ individual rates would vary based on hospital type. Hospitals are still wary about the option, though. It seems likely hospitals will have to raise costs for people with insurance plans that aren’t part of the state option, said Katherine Mulready, senior vice president and chief strategy officer for the Colorado Hospital Association.

Front-Runner Sanders Left To Fend Off Attacks Over ‘Medicare For All’ Math, Gun Votes At Latest Debate

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“The math does not add up,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said of rival and front-runner Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) “Medicare for All” plan. Sanders earlier in the week released a proposal on how he’d cover the costs of his ambitious progressive agenda, but other candidates and experts are questioning how accurate his numbers are. Meanwhile, former Vice President Joe Biden went after the front-runner as well for his past stance on guns.

California Defends Authority To Require Insurers To Cover Abortion As Protecting Women’s Rights

KHN Morning Briefing

HHS said last month that the state’s abortion coverage requirement violated federal law that banned government entities that receive HHS funding from discriminating against health-care organizations because they don’t provide abortion or abortion coverage. “The Trump Administration’s threats not only put women’s health on the line, but illegally threaten crucial public health funding that Californians rely on,” said California Democratic Attorney General Xavier Becerra in a letter to HHS.

To Understand The Complexities Of Unions’ Feelings Toward ‘Medicare For All’ Look Back To The 1990s

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A 6-year strike in the 1990s ended with a health care deal with which other workers were envious. If “Medicare for All” is enacted, does that mean those efforts were for naught? Meanwhile, despite the warning from the powerful Culinary Union against Sen. Bernie Sanders’ health plan, Sanders easily secured victory in Nevada’s caucuses over the weekend.

Victims’ Families, Tribes Want Public Reckoning For IHS Officials Who Protected Abusive Doctor. They Might Not Get One.

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The Indian Health Service says that it won’t release a report on the government officials who were responsible for a pediatrician who was charged with sexually abusing six boys on two reservations over his time at IHS. Legal experts are questioning the grounds from IHS’ decision, though. Other news on the administration focuses on EPA and “forever chemicals,” new visa rules for immigrants, and a lawsuit against the VA.

A Single-Payer System Like ‘Medicare For All’ Would Save Billions In Billing And Administrative Costs, Study Finds

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It would also save about 68,000 American lives a year. The research gives some weight to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) talking points on the 2020 campaign trail, but the study is also built on assumptions about human behavior and how the system would work in practice that others find fault with. Meanwhile, some say that the Democrats’ push for “Medicare for All” could hurt them in Minnesota, a traditionally blue state that has a number of medical-related jobs at stake.

Warren Dismisses Rivals’ Health Care Plans As ‘Paper Thin,’ Able to Fit On A Post-It Note

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) went after moderates for what she deemed as “thin” health care plans, while also blasting progressive rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for not being realistic or ready to compromise. The sharper attacks were indicative of a tense night on stage at the latest Democratic debate, as newcomer Mike Bloomberg drew vitriol and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s feud boiled over. Meanwhile, former Vice President Joe Biden singled Bloomberg out for calling the Affordable Care Act a disgrace when it was first passed, but the claim requires some context that Biden left out.