RealClearHealth Morning Scan -- 01/18/2016

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Clinton, Sanders Clash on Health Care at Debate
Lerer & Benac, AP
On health care, Sanders released his plan for a government-run single-payer plan just hours before the debate, and used his opening statement to call for health care "for every man, woman and child as a right." Clinton, by contrast, urged less sweeping action to build on President Barack Obama's health care plan by reducing out-of-pocket costs and control spending on prescription drugs.

Sanders Releases Details on Health Plan
Alcindor & Rappeport, NYT
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, under pressure from the Clinton campaign to explain how he would pay for his progressive policies, unveiled a universal healthcare plan on Sunday night that includes sweeping tax increases and a drastic tax hike for the wealthiest.

Sanders Plan: More Ambitious Than You Thought
Jonathan Cohn, HuffPo
Sanders is calling it "Medicare for All," because Medicare, which provides government-financed insurance to the elderly, is the closest thing to a single-payer system in the U.S. But that term actually understates the ambition of what he is proposing.

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Sanders's Single-Payer Plan Isn't a Plan At All
Ezra Klein, Vox
On Sunday night, mere hours before the fourth Democratic debate, Sanders tried to head off Clinton's attacks by releasing his plan. Only what he released isn't a plan. It is, to be generous, a gesture towards a future plan.

Sanders Would Cover Illegal Immigrants
Debenedetti & Cheney, Politico
Millions of undocumented immigrants would gain health care coverage under Bernie Sanders' plan for a single-payer health care system, a detail he didn't include explicitly in his just-released proposal but one confirmed by an aide shortly after Sunday's Democratic presidential debate.

Sanders Plan Is Big Attack on Rich
Ehrenfreund & Tankersley, Wonkblog
Last fall, the Wall Street Journal estimated Bernie Sanders' single-payer health care plan would cost the government a whopping $15 trillion over a decade. Sanders' campaign objected - loudly - over that price tag. On Sunday evening, just before the Democratic presidential debate in South Carolina, Sanders finally released details of his plan, including a headline price tag. It was $14 trillion.

Liberal Dream of Single-Payer Dies in Vermont
Michael Tanner, N.Y. Post
The Affordable Care Act gave states the ability to opt out of ObamaCare, if they wanted to set up a single-payer system instead. So far, Vermont has been the only state to try to take advantage of that option.

One Hospital Tells You the Cost Before Surgery
John C. Goodman, Forbes
How refreshing, therefore, to find a hospital that quotes package prices in advance and is willing to compete for patients based on price and quality. Why are they doing it? For the simplest reason of all: to attract patients.

Harming Patient Satisfaction by Measuring It
Marjorie Rosenthal, WBUR
Patients are often criticized for what are called “door handle comments” — those comments brought up as the health care provider is walking out of the room and already has one hand on the door.

University Reviewing Study Touting Chocolate Milk
Candice Choi, AP
A study by the University of Maryland touting the benefits of a small company's chocolate milk is raising concerns about the potential conflicts-of-interest that can arise when food makers collaborate with schools on such efforts.

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Making the most of your prescription drug benefits helps you get healthy faster and stay healthy longer, while keeping costs in check. Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies are helping people understand how to maximize their benefits so they can get the effective medicines they need at the most affordable price. Learn more.

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