Sep 18, 2018

Democrats press their advantage with health care

Photo: Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call

Democrats are serious about making health care the centerpiece of their midterm election strategy. Every day brings new ads, press statements and other election-season positioning — from moderates and progressives alike — that slams Republicans over threats to the Affordable Care Act.

Why it matters: Democrats’ health care strategy is well-established, so every new example of it isn’t newsworthy. But it’s still worth stepping back to appreciate just how quickly Democrats have gone back on offense on health care, after so many years of seeing mainly Republican ads about the issue.

What they’re saying: Some red-state Democrats’ ads are focused on protections for people with pre-existing conditions, but don’t mention the ACA (or “Obamacare”) by name, the New York Times’ Margot Sanger-Katz notes.

  • Meanwhile, the Huffington Post’s Jonathan Cohn details how big a role the ACA’s Medicaid expansion is playing in Michigan’s gubernatorial race, along with governor’s races in Ohio and Nevada.

The other side: Republicans are also going back to the health care playbook, running against “Medicare for All” as they try to push back against Democrats’ attacks and rile up a base that seems complacent about the midterms.

  • At least so far, that effort doesn’t seem to be working as well as that of the Democrats. But I expect “Medicare for All” to be a bigger flashpoint — for both the left and the right — once we get into the 2020 cycle. (So, the minute the polls close on Nov. 6).

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 1,579,690 — Total deaths: 94,567 — Total recoveries: 346,780Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 452,582 — Total deaths: 16,129 — Total recoveries: 24,790Map.
  3. Public health latest: U.S. has expelled thousands of migrants under coronavirus public health orderDr. Anthony Fauci said social distancing could reduce the U.S. death toll to 60,000.
  4. Business latest: The Fed will lend up to $2.3 trillion for businesses, state and city governments — Another 6.6 million jobless claims were filed last week.
  5. World latest: Boris Johnson is moved out of ICU but remains in hospital with coronavirus.
  6. In Congress: Senate in stalemate over additional funding for small business relief program.
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Biden rolls out new policies in effort to court Sanders supporters

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The Biden campaign announced two new policies on Thursday on health care and student debt that are squarely aimed at appealing to supporters of Bernie Sanders, who ended his campaign for the Democratic nomination on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The policies don't go as far as Sanders' platform, but they signal that Biden is serious about incorporating elements of his former rival's agenda in an effort to help unify the Democratic Party and defeat President Trump in the general election.

Reports: Saudi Arabia and Russia reach major deal to cut oil production

Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP via Getty Images

OPEC+, led by mega-producers Saudi Arabia and Russia, reached a tentative agreement Thursday to impose large cuts in oil production as the coronavirus pandemic fuels an unprecedented collapse in demand, per Bloomberg and Reuters.

Why it matters: The revival of the OPEC+ collaboration patches up the early March rupture between the countries, which had pushed already depressed prices down much further by threatening to unleash even more new supplies into the saturated market.