KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Deciphering The Democrats’ Health Debate

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Twenty Democratic candidates for president debated well being care at size over two nights in Detroit this week. But numerous 30-second prices and countercharges from “Medicare for All” backers and people who desire a extra gradual method to common protection could have left the viewers extra confused than ever about the easiest way to make the well being system higher and extra inexpensive.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration sought to counterprogram in opposition to the debates, unveiling plans to permit states to probably buy cheaper prescribed drugs from Canada and requiring hospitals to make public the costs they negotiate with insurers.

This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner from Kaiser Health News, Alice Ollstein of Politico, Kimberly Leonard of the Washington Examiner and Caitlin Owens of Axios.

Among the takeaways from this week’s podcast:

The Democratic presidential debate format has been good at exposing the variations amongst candidates on their plans to get extra Americans well being care. But there was little point out of different vital well being points, together with how they’d shield the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that insurers cowl individuals with medical issues, decrease drug costs or deal with state requests to implement work necessities for Medicaid enrollees. Debaters have been fast to speak about issues they see stemming from the best way insurers and drugmakers function, however they didn’t contact on one other main participant in setting well being care prices: hospitals. Sen. Kamala Harris of California, a number one Democratic presidential candidate, unveiled her plan for a Medicare for All well being system this week and endorsed using non-public Medicare Advantage plans. But Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), one other contender and the unique writer of a Medicare for All plan, complained that Medicare has been a profitable a part of the enterprise for these non-public insurers and that they shouldn’t be included in Democratic efforts to arrange a single-payer Medicare system. Harris’ plan was additionally criticized by extra reasonable Democrats as a result of it will require everybody with employer-provided insurance coverage to alter to both Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan. Recent bulletins by the Trump administration on new well being care insurance policies, comparable to the choice for states to discover importing medication from Canada or forcing hospitals to put up the costs they’ve negotiated with insurers, seem like an effort to offer the president a stronger well being portfolio as he goes into the 2020 marketing campaign.

Plus, for further credit score, the panelists suggest their favourite well being coverage tales of the week they suppose you need to learn too:

Julie Rovner: The Washington Post’s “Driven to the end: Olympic cyclist Kelly Catlin could do it all. Until it all became too much,” by Kent Babb.

Alice Ollstein: The New York Times’ “Need Extra Time on Tests? It Helps to Have Cash,” by Dana Goldstein and Jugal Okay. Patel.

Kimberly Leonard: The San Francisco Chronicle’s “One Day, One City, No Relief: 24 hours inside San Francisco’s crisis,” by Kevin Fagan and Chronicle Staff.

Caitlin Owens: Bloomberg News’ “Drugmakers’ Alleged Price-Fixing Pushed a Needed Pill Out of Reach,” by Ben Elgin.

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