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Expand chart
Data: Kaiser Family Foundation; Map: Harry Stevens/Axios

The number of people with pre-existing medical conditions varies substantially between metropolitan areas, according to Kaiser Family Foundation data. That means even within a single state, different locations would see different results under legislation that erodes the Affordable Care Act's protections

Why it matters: The more people who have a pre-existing condition, the more likely health care is to resonate as an issue in the midterm elections in that state or district.

  • Democrats have been making the case that Republicans threaten pre-existing conditions protections — through legislation, executive action and the courts — and have made this a dominant theme of the midterms. 
  • Some of the areas with the highest number of people with pre-existing conditions are in states with competitive Senate races, such as West Virginia, Tennessee and Indiana. 

The issue makes for absolutely brutal ads, and Democrats know it. They believe one of their most potent lines of attack against Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, is arguing he could be the deciding vote against these protections. 

  • Protect Our Care has a new TV ad out today, provided to Axios, that depicts an imaginary broadcast in 2019 or 2020 announcing SCOTUS has struck down the ACA's pre-existing conditions regulations. 
  • The ad targets Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who voted against the GOP health care bill last year. The pro-ACA group is airing radio ads tying Kavanaugh to pre-existing conditions in both Maine and Alaska. 
  • Kavanaugh's Senate hearing begins Sept. 4, the day before oral arguments in the court case that would strike down the ACA regulations.

Go deeper

8 hours ago - Health

FDA advisory panel recommends Pfizer boosters for those 65 and older

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Key Biscayne Community Center on Aug. 24, 2021. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday overwhelmingly voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, but unanimously recommended approving the third shots for individuals 65 and older, as well as those at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: While the votes are non-binding, and the FDA must still make a final decision, Friday's move pours cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine later this month.

9 hours ago - World

France recalls ambassadors from U.S. and Australia over submarine deal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L), French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (C), and French ambassador to the U.S. Philippe Etienne. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

France has taken the extraordinary step of recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia after both countries blindsided their French allies with a new military pact and submarine contract, the French Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.

The backstory: While sealing an agreement with the U.S. and U.K. to acquire nuclear submarines, Australia ripped up an existing $90 billion submarine deal with France. That led senior French officials to accuse the U.S. of a "stab in the back."

Updated 9 hours ago - World

In reversal, Pentagon now says drone strike killed 10 Afghan civilians

Caskets for the dead are carried towards the gravesite as relatives and friends attend a mass funeral for members of a family that is said to have been killed in a U.S. drone airstrike, in Kabul on Aug. 30. Photo: Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A U.S. drone strike launched on Aug. 29 killed 10 civilians in Afghanistan, including seven children, rather than the Islamic State extremists the Biden administration claimed it targeted, the Pentagon said Friday.

Why it matters: U.S. Central Command said at the time that officials "know" the drone strike "disrupted an imminent ISIS-K threat" to Kabul's airport, and that they were "confident we successfully hit the target."