House Democrats holding a press conference about pre-existing conditions. Photo: Toya Sarno Jordan/Getty Images

The Democratic super PAC Forward Majority is releasing a seven-figure ad campaign targeting GOP state legislators over their opposition to pre-existing conditions coverage under the Affordable Care Act as part of the group's $8 million investment in over 100 state legislative districts in the 2018 midterm election cycle.

Why it matters: This health care topic has shown up in gubernatorial, House and Senate races, where more GOP candidates are campaigning on protecting people with pre-existing conditions, even after their party attempted to repeal and replace the ACA. Now, Forward Majority is trying to help Democrats running for state legislatures in key battlegrounds capitalize on this issue — especially after the Trump administration gave states more leeway last week to waive some of the ACA's rules.

  • The ads will run in Wisconsin, Florida, Texas, Arizona and Pennsylvania, which are crucial states in the midterms.
  • What they're saying: Ben Wexler-Waite, a Forward Majority spokesman, said the Trump admin waiver kicking pre-existing coverage to states "is the greatest political gift Democrats running for state legislatures could have asked for."

Go deeper: Republicans hit with pre-existing conditions.

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Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
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Winter coronavirus threat spurs new surge of startup activity

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

U.S. coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are surging, with cold weather arriving before even the best-case scenario for a widely distributed vaccine. Now we're also beginning to see an increase in coronavirus-related startup funding, focused on both testing and pharma.

Driving the news: Gauss, a Silicon Valley computer vision startup focused on health care, tells Axios that it's raised $10 million to accelerate development and commercialization of an at-home rapid antigen test for COVID-19.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Axios-Ipsos poll: Federal response has only gotten worse — The swing states where the pandemic is raging.
  2. Health: Hospitals face a crush — 13 states set single-day case records last week.
  3. Business: Winter threat spurs new surge of startup activity.
  4. Media: Pandemic causes TV providers to lose the most subscribers ever.
  5. States: Nearly two dozen Minnesota cases traced to three Trump campaign events.
  6. World: Unrest in Italy as restrictions grow across Europe.

Ted Cruz defends GOP's expected return to prioritizing national debt

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told "Axios on HBO" on Monday that he wishes reining in the national debt was a higher priority for President Trump.

Why it matters: Trump pledged during the 2016 campaign to reduce the national debt and eliminate it entirely within eight years, though he also deemed himself "the king of debt" and said there were some priorities that required spending. In the fiscal year that ended in September, the deficit reached a record $3.1 trillion.