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Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Although it was anything but straightforward, last night's Democratic health care debate was partially about who pays for health care and how they pay for it.

Case in point: Sen. Kamala Harris and former Vice President Joe Biden brought up copays and deductibles in their spat about, among other things, whether to eliminate the employer insurance system.

  • Addressing the fact that the most liberal Medicare for All plans would offer care without deductibles, Biden said, "The fact of the matter is that there will be a deductible — there will be a deductible in their paycheck."

The big picture: We currently pay for health care through taxes, premiums and our out-of-pocket spending. Medicare for All — whether it's full-blown single payer or a public option — shifts at least some of that spending on premiums and deductibles onto taxpayers.

  • That shift would likely hit higher income brackets and corporations harder than lower ones, depending on how the plan is structured.

The bottom line: How receptive Americans are to a more expansive version of Medicare for All is almost certainly related to how they feel about their increasing out-of-pocket obligations.

Related: President Trump is prepping an executive order for next week that's focused on strengthening Medicare, WSJ reports. A White House official said that the order is intended to serve as a point of contrast with Democrats' Medicare for All push.

Go deeper: Workers' health care costs just keep rising

Go deeper

5 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.