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Kaiser Health News Original Stories

2. Political Cartoon: 'Mixed Results'

Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Mixed Results'" by Harley Schwadron.

Here's today's health policy haiku:


Experts use many
Methods to fight the "cockroach"
Of all mosquitos.

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Campaign 2016

3. At Debate, Clinton Knocks Sanders' Medicare-For-All Plan: 'The Numbers Don't Add Up'

The Democratic candidates sparred over universal health care at their latest debate on Thursday, with Hillary Clinton painting Bernie Sanders' proposal as unrealistic. But Sanders defended his vision, saying "health care is a right of all people."

The New York Times: In Democratic Debate, Hillary Clinton Paints Bernie Sanders’s Plans As Unrealistic
Hillary Clinton, scrambling to recover from her double-digit defeat in the New Hampshire primary, repeatedly challenged the trillion-dollar policy plans of Bernie Sanders at their presidential debate on Thursday night and portrayed him as a big talker who needed to “level” with voters about the difficulty of accomplishing his agenda. ... Throughout the debate, Mr. Sanders demonstrated little capacity to broaden his political message in compelling new directions beyond overhauling the economy, campaign finance and health care. While he noted that his “Medicare for all” program would save the average middle-class family $5,000 a year, he did not present his vision in any new way or frame the issue in personal terms for average voters. (Chozick and Healy, 2/11)

The Associated Press: Debate Takeaways: Clinton, Sanders Appeal To SC, Nevada
Clinton took an aggressive stance on health care from the outset, arguing that Sanders' plan to create a universal health care system by expanding Medicare would undermine Obama's Affordable Care Act. She argued repeatedly that Sanders had failed to provide a specific way to pay for his plan, and turned the exchange into an overall critique of the Vermont senator's proposals. "In my case, whether it's health care, or getting us to debt-free tuition, or moving us toward paid family leave, I have been very specific about where I would raise the money, how much it would cost, and how I would move this agenda forward," Clinton said. Sanders countered that Clinton was not being accurate, casting the fight for universal health care as a matter of courage. He said he was the candidate willing to take on drug companies, the insurance industry and medical equipment suppliers who might be opposed to an overhaul. (2/11)

Reuters: Clinton And Sanders Battle In Debate Over Healthcare, Wall Street Ties
In a sixth presidential debate that featured several sharp exchanges but a more sedate tone than their last meeting, Clinton said Sanders' proposal for a single-payer, Medicare-for-all healthcare plan would mean dismantling Obamacare and triggering another intense political struggle. Sanders said he would not dismantle the healthcare plan known as Obamacare and was simply moving to provide what most industrialized countries have - healthcare coverage for all. (2/11)

USA Today: Clinton On Health Care: 'We Are Not England. We Are Not France'
Perhaps no issue illustrates the philosophical differences Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have to governing more than health care, the issue that led off Thursday's debate in Milwaukee. In detailing their approaches Thursday, Sanders emphasized his view that "health care is a right of all people." ... Clinton countered that she shares the goal of universal health care but that Sanders' plan amounted to starting over on the issue. "We are not England," she said. "We are not France," arguing that the U.S. health care system has historically been an employer-based system and that the focus should be on improving the existing Affordable Care Act. (Allen, 2/12)

The Associated Press: Fact Check: Clinton, Sanders On Health Care, Donors
In their latest debate, Hillary Clinton glossed over the big-money donors juicing her White House ambitions while Bernie Sanders offered disputed numbers behind his plan for a government-financed health system. ... More detail and analysis are needed on Sanders' plan for cradle-to-grave government-financed health care for all. But two early assessments suggest that the accounting comes up short. (2/11)

CNN: Democratic Debate: CNN's Reality Check Team Inspects The Claims
During Thursday's Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton said that "the Affordable Care Act has helped more African-Americans than any other group to get insurance, to be taken care of." While there is no doubt that the Affordable Care Act -- Obamacare -- helped a large number of African-Americans get health insurance, the legislation has actually resulted in more Latino adults gaining coverage than any other group. (Luhby, Cohen, Bohn, Crawford, Vashi, Rose, Bower, LoBianco, Grise, Browne and Grabow, 2/12)

The Washington Post: Sanders Says Single-Payer Health Care Can Happen In His First Term If ‘People Demand It’
Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders said that he has no hard timetable for moving to a single-payer health-care system if he wins the White House but that he hopes it’s something he could accomplish in his first term. ... In an interview here Wednesday, Sanders acknowledged that his plan wouldn’t pass “on Day One” of his presidency and said the lobbying strength in Congress of the insurance and pharmaceutical industries remains a big impediment. (Wagner, 2/11)

Meanwhile, on the Republican side of the 2016 race, John Kasich fires back after Jeb Bush brings up the Ohio governor's Medicaid expansion decision —

Columbus Dispatch: Kasich Responds To Bush's Attacks On Medicaid Expansion
The race for the Republican presidential nomination erupted in anger as Gov. John Kasich accused Jeb Bush of “trashing” his opponents following the former Florida governor’s criticism of Kasich using federal dollars to expand health coverage to low-income people. Not only did Kasich say Thursday that Bush might tarnish the legacy of a family which has produced two presidents, but John Weaver, Kasich’s top strategist, told reporters on a conference call that Bush’s campaign has “all the joy of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” (Torry and Wehrman, 2/11)

Health Law Issues And Implementation

4. Former Ky. Governor Launches Drive To Stop GOP's Rollback Of Health Care Initiatives

Former Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat who helped implement the Affordable Care's Medicaid expansion in the state and set up a highly successful insurance marketplace, is trying to galvanize opposition to his successor's plans to dissolve those programs.

The New York Times: Kentucky Ex-Governor Aims To Halt Rollback Of Obamacare Changes
The former governor who made Kentucky a national leader in health care expansion under the Affordable Care Act is moving to protect that legacy from his successor, who has set out to dismantle parts of it. Steven L. Beshear, the former Democratic governor, announced on Thursday the creation of a nonprofit group, Save Kentucky Healthcare, to marshal opposition to changes being made by Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican who took office in December. (Perez-Pena, 2/11)

The Associated Press: Health Care Battle Brewing Between Governors In Kentucky
Kentucky's two most recent governors went to war over the state's health care system Thursday, raising the stakes in a battle that could tarnish the legacy of the Obama administration's health care law. Former Kentucky Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear formed a tax-exempt organization that will pay for an online campaign he said will "educate voters" about Republican Gov. Matt Bevin's plans to make fewer people eligible for Medicaid and to dismantle a state program where some can purchase private insurance plans at a discount. Bevin said he was amused that Beshear "seems offended by the idea that I would keep a campaign promise," adding it "tells you a fair bit about ... why I won." (Beam, 2/11)

Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal: Beshear Launches Petition To Save Ky Health Care
The campaign comes as Beshear's successor, Gov. Matt Bevin, has announced plans to dismantle Kentucky's nationally known health insurance exchange and restructure the Medicaid expansion Beshear enacted by executive order under the Affordable Care Act. Beshear, on the website, calls on Kentucky to support the changes that have added health coverage to more than 500,000 people and helped Kentucky achieve the sharpest drop of uninsured residents in the nation. (Yetter, 2/11)

5. Idaho Alternative To Medicaid Expansion Approved By Legislative Committee

The measure would provide some basic health services to those who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but aren't eligible for premium subsidies under the federal health law. But it wouldn't cover prescription drugs, hospitalization or expensive treatments. Other outlets report on Medicaid expansion efforts in Utah and Virginia.

The Associated Press: Idaho Panel Backs Medicaid Expansion Alternative
Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's proposed alternative to Medicaid expansion passed its first hurdle in the Idaho Legislature Thursday. The $30 million plan dubbed the Idaho Primary Care Access Program would provide basic health care services to the estimated 78,000 Idahoans who make too much to qualify for Medicaid but also don't qualify for health insurance subsidies. The measure wouldn't cover expensive treatments, hospitalization and most prescription medications for the gap population and would function by providing primary care clinics with an estimated $32 per month for each indigent patient they treat. (Haake, 2/11)

KSL (Salt Lake City, Utah): Diverse Group Urges Lawmakers To Expand Medicaid
It was a different cast of characters testifying about the need for Medicaid expansion in Utah Thursday. What is typically an unending list of patients pleading with lawmakers to give them access to health insurance, Thursday's meeting was filled with organizational executives, local religious leaders, doctors and other providers, professors and experts, economists and general advocates for Utah's uninsured. (Leonard, 2/11)

The Washington Post: Virginia Poll Shows Partisan Divide On Gun Control, Medicaid
Virginia voters want hospitals to pay for Medicaid expansion, don’t want businesses to deny service to gay customers and do support background checks at gun shows, a new poll shows. Christopher Newport University’s Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy surveyed voters on hot-button issues before the General Assembly. ... Support for the general notion of expanding Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act stands at 61 percent with support among a majority of African Americans, ideological liberals and Democrats. More than half

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