Mar 15, 2019

So far in 2020 presidential election, Beto isn't talking up Medicare for All

Beto O'Rourke in Iowa. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

This tells you a lot about what matters to Democratic primary voters: "1st question for Beto O'Rourke as a 2020 candidate is on health care," NBC's Alex Seitz-Wald reported yesterday from Iowa.

What he's saying: O'Rourke didn't sign on to single-payer legislation when he was in the House, but he made some Medicare-for-All-adjacent comments early in early his Senate run, but he's not talking about Medicare for All now.

"I think we have to begin with a goal that has to be separate from any labels," O'Rourke said yesterday, per a transcription by the Washington Post's Jeff Stein.

The way to achieve that goal, he said, is for more states to adopt the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion and to "allow people to buy into Medicare who aren't already covered by employer insurance."

Flashback: The Wall Street Journal dug back into O'Rourke's first campaign for the House, in 2012, and you can expect to hear this a couple million times over the next year.

From WSJ:

  • "Asked if he supported the Affordable Care Act that Democrats passed and Mr. Obama had signed into law two years earlier, Mr. O’Rourke said he did not."
  • "'In its current form, no,' he told El Paso Inc., a local business publication. 'It doesn’t do anything for El Paso in terms of the Medicaid reimbursement rate.' Mr. O’Rourke added that he was 'supportive of all the aims' of the law."

He voted consistently against the myriad repeal bills once he was in the House.

Go deeper: Everything else you need to know about Beto O'Rourke

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Concern over coronavirus spread: Italy, South Korea and Iran report more 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 number of novel coronavirus cases in South Korea, Italy and Iran jumped on Sunday as infections in mainland China continued to grow, the latest figures show.

The big picture: As South Korea and Italy stepped up emergency measures amid rising case numbers, World Health Organization officials expressed concern about infections with no clear link to China. COVID-19 has killed at least 2,619 people and infected almost 80,000 others, with all but 27 deaths occurring in mainland China.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

Sanders reveals free childcare plan for preschoolers

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign rally on Saturday in El Paso, Texas. Photo: Cengiz Yar/Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders announced on CBS' "60 Minutes" Sunday a new plan to guarantee free child care and pre-kindergarten to all American children from infancy to age four.

Details: In the wide-ranging interview, Sanders told Anderson Cooper he planned to pay for universal childcare with a wealth tax. "It's taxes on billionaires," he said.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Joe Biden places second in Nevada caucuses, ahead of Pete Buttigieg

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden a Nevada Caucus watch party in Las Vegas on Saturday. Photo: Ronda Churchill/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden secured second place in the Nevada Democratic caucuses with former Southbend Mayor Pete Buttigieg third, according to NBC News projections Sunday.

Why it matters: It's a boost for Biden, who's widely tipped to be endorsed by House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) on Wednesday, ahead of this week's South Carolina primary.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy