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House Speaker Pelosi, last June. Photo: Toya Sarno Jordan/Getty

Amid the hullabaloo over purported immigrant hordes, alleged Chinese perfidy on trade and a Green New Deal, Americans — crossing lines of age, party and gender — are united in what they really care about, according to a new poll: Health care.

Details: Eighteen months before the presidential election, the finding suggests potential peril for President Trump should he be seen as insensitive on the issue, says John Della Volpe, polling director for RealClear Opinion Research, which conducted the survey.

By the numbers:

  • 45% of Democrats, 30% of Republicans and 31% of independents ranked health care as their No. 1 issue from a list of 6 that were shown. For Republicans, 29% said the economy was No. 1 and 28% said immigration.
  • 62% said health care is their No. 1 or 2 most-important issue.

For all generations, the No. 1 and 2 issues combined are making sure that all Americans have access to health care and lowering its price, according to the poll.

  • For Millennials and Generation Z: 58% ranked them the top 2 issues
  • Gen X: 60%
  • Boomer/Silent: 67%

Democrats are bound to double down on the issue: "It's only the earliest days of his campaign. But when it gets to the general election, there is no question that if [Trump] doesn't address his plan for health care in America, it will be a problem," Della Volpe tells Axios.

At this stage, both parties have staked out sharp-edged positions:

  • In March, the administration asked an appeals court to rule the entire Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. Previously, it was seeking only to invalidate parts of the law. Now, Trump says he will propose a plan to replace Obamacare after the 2020 elections.
  • Striking down the law would leave several million people without health care, and eliminate a requirement that insurance guarantee coverage for pre-existing conditions and keep children on their parents's policy through the age of 26.
  • Against this, Democrats in the House have sought documents from the administration explaining how it decided to seek the act's invalidation. They have set a deadline this Friday for a response. Several Democratic presidential candidates are seeking "Medicare for all," expanding the program to all age groups.

Thought bubble from Managing Editor David Nather: "There are other issues that both parties are working on — like lowering drug prices. But the lawsuit won't help Republicans defend themselves against Democratic warnings that they'd get rid of health coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. That message helped drive the big Democratic gains in 2018."

  • Chris Arnade, author of "Dignity: Seeking Respect in Back Row America," who has been driving around the country for several years reporting on addiction and poverty, said health care is "the one thing that brings out frustration."
  • "Health care is where the rubber hits the road," Arnade tells Axios. "The number of stories I hear of people who have no health care — it's sad. People make awful choices — 'do I go into debt to get my daughter's health addressed? Do I go to the hospital?'"
  • "It's so costly to the working class. They are receptive to someone like [Sen. Elizabeth] Warren or [Sen. Bernie] Sanders who say we need change. People are receptive to change."

Go deeper

43 mins ago - Health

U.S. tops 88,000 COVID-19 cases, setting new single-day record

Expand chart
Data: COVID Tracking Project; Chart: Axios Visuals

The United States reported 88,452 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, setting a single-day record, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project.

The big picture: The country confirmed 1,049 additional deaths due to the virus, and there are over 46,000 people currently being hospitalized, suggesting the U.S. is experiencing a third wave heading into the winter months.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates — Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day.
  2. Politics: Top HHS spokesperson pitched coronavirus ad campaign as "helping the president" — Space Force's No. 2 general tests positive for coronavirus.
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases.
  4. Sports: MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.
  5. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.

The norms around science and politics are cracking

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Crafting successful public health measures depends on the ability of top scientists to gather data and report their findings unrestricted to policymakers.

State of play: But concern has spiked among health experts and physicians over what they see as an assault on key science protections, particularly during a raging pandemic. And a move last week by President Trump, via an executive order, is triggering even more worries.

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