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The health care debate Democrats aren't having

Democratic debate in Detroit. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Candidates at the Democratic debate in Detroit. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Tuesday night's field of presidential candidates fought in 30-second soundbites over the merits of single payer Medicare for All versus a public option.

Yes, but: None of the candidates moved beyond sparring over insurance reforms to address the underlying reason why people are having so much trouble affording their health care, which is that health care services keep getting more expensive.

  • Although drug and insurance companies are Democrats' favorite punching bags, hospital care is the largest driver of U.S. health prices — yet hospitals are left out of Democrats' list of predatory health care companies.

Yes, but: You can't say that hospitals emerged unscathed from last night's debate. A key rationale for Medicare for All — or any public option — is that it lowers health care costs by paying lower rates for hospital and doctor services than private insurance does, which is why providers hate both plans.

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