Feb 26, 2020 - Health

Democratic health care debate topics finally expand past Medicare for All

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Democrats finally debated health care subjects other than Medicare for All on Tuesday night.

Why it matters: We have a much wider range of health care problems than political debates usually suggest. Discussing rural Americans' lack of access to health care may not be as exciting as debating whether to do away with private insurance, but it's a subject that many voters struggle with every day.

  • And as the coronavirus is revealing, administrations don't always get to control what dominates their agenda.

What happened: The candidates were asked how they'd handle issues like rural health care and the coronavirus.

  • Amy Klobuchar talked about building up the health care workforce in rural areas, while Bernie Sanders talked up his role in increasing funding for community health centers through the Affordable Care Act.
  • Joe Biden talked about his experience dealing with Ebola and criticized Trump for cutting funding for the CDC.

Go deeper: Health care's imminent existential crises

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What Biden's big Super Tuesday means for health care

Illustration: Axios Visuals

Health care has become the framework that defines the broader ideological and stylistic divisions within the Democratic primary — a contest between political revolution and Medicare for All vs. bipartisan compromise and a public option.

Yes, but: It's kind of a false choice. Passing either of those health care plans would require a knock-down, drag-out party-line brawl just as intense as the fight over the Affordable Care Act.

Go deeperArrowMar 4, 2020 - Health

Rural residents' access to health care amid coronavirus

Jen Lingo, R.N., walks a resident of the assisted living center in Dayton General Hospital back to her room. Dayton, a small town in rural southeast Washington, has an aging population, had its first positive test for Coronavirus and is waiting on results of more tests. Photo: Nick Otto for the Washington Post

The novel coronavirus can spread faster in densely populated cities than in rural areas, but rural America has a higher-risk population and fewer safety-net programs for people who get sick.

By the numbers: Rural residents are, overall, older than urban dwellers and are therefore more susceptible to this virus. Per Census Bureau data, 17.5% of the rural population is 65 or older.

Go deeperArrowMar 18, 2020 - Health

Biden: "What's the revolution going to do? Disrupt everything"

"We have problems we have to solve now. What's the revolution going to do? Disrupt everything," former Vice President Joe Biden said when asked about Sen. Bernie Sanders' Medicare for All health care plan during the 11th Democratic debate on Sunday.