Aug 7, 2018

Progressive Democrats take single-payer to the primaries

Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Tonight's primary elections will include an important referendum on a growing trend: Progressive gubernatorial candidates vowing to implement some form of single-payer at the state level.

What to watch: Michigan's Democratic primary, which will be held tonight, includes Abdul el-Sayed — a progressive candidate (and former Detroit health commissioner) who has said he'll bring "Medicare for All" to Michigan.

No state has ever made single-payer work. But that's not stopping a handful of Democratic candidates from promising to try. The Washington Post's Dave Weigel runs through some of them:

  • Maryland's Ben Jealous and Massachusetts' Jay Gonzalez are both campaigning on "Medicare for All" as they try to defeat extremely popular moderate Republican governors in their respective blue states.
  • Cynthia Nixon, challenging New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo from the left, has endorsed an expansive health care overhaul there.
  • California Lieutenant Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has already won his primary, is also promoting the idea for California.

The problem is money. States would largely have to pay for their versions of single-payer on top of existing federal programs, not instead of them.

  • Medicare and the taxes that fund it, for example, are both federal programs that states — unlike the federal government — don't have the power to fold into some other system.

Why it matters: As unlikely as state-level single-payer might be, gubernatorial candidates' embrace of the idea is still a clear sign of where Democrats are headed.

Go deeper: Axios followed el-Sayed last week as he campaigned with newly minted progressive icon Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Go deeper

Bernie Sanders wins Nevada caucus

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders waves to supporters at a campaign rally on Friday in Las Vegas. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders is projected to handily win the Nevada Democratic primary caucus, becoming the clear frontrunner among 2020 Democratic presidential primary election candidates.

Why it matters: Nevada is the first state with a diverse population to hold a nominating contest, highlighting candidates' abilities to connect with voters of color — particularly Latino voters.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

South Korea and Italy see spikes in coronavirus cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus has spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting these are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the United States.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,362 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel and Lebanon, while Iran reported its sixth death from the virus. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 Friday to 433 on Saturday and Italy's case count rose from 3 to 62 by Saturday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 6 hours ago - Health

America's rundown roads add to farmers' struggles

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

American farmers are struggling to safely use the roads that cut through their fields; decades of neglect and lack of funding have made the routes dangerous.

The big picture: President Trump has long promised to invest billions in rural infrastructure, and his latest proposal would allocate $1 trillion for such projects. Rural America, where many of Trump's supporters live, would see a large chunk of that money.