Sep 22, 2020 - Health

Before Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, 2020 wasn't much of a health care election

Data: NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll; Note: ±3.8% margin of error; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll; Note: ±3.8% margin of error; Chart: Axios Visuals

Health care wasn't the top issue heading into the 2020 election — and then Ruth Bader Ginsburg died.

Between the lines: This poll was conducted in the days before her death, which has significantly increased the threat to the Affordable Care Act and thus the threat to the law's pre-existing conditions protections.

  • Flashback: Democrats won the House in 2018 after running campaigns heavily focused on health care, an especially potent issue after the GOP's failed attempt to repeal and replace the ACA in 2017.
  • A pending lawsuit, brought by GOP attorneys general and supported by the Trump administration, is scheduled to be argued before the Supreme Court the week after the election. If successful, it could have a more chaotic effect than almost anything that Republicans proposed in 2017.

What we're watching: Even among Democrats, only 15% of respondents said that health care was their most important issue. But that could easily change now that the ACA is imminently at risk.

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