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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Most Democrats running in competitive House races are supporting or at least leaving the door open to some form of "Medicare for All" — although there is no clear agreement within the party about what that means.

Why it matters: The party is indisputably shifting leftward, and health care is a critical part of that change. Regardless of which specific policies these candidates support, it's clear that they see a greater federal role in health care as a winning campaign message.

The big picture: There are 44 House seats that are held by Republicans and rated by the Cook Political Report as toss-up, lean Democratic or likely Democratic.

There's a ton of variation in how Democratic candidates in those races approach "Medicare for All," but most leave the door open to supporting it.

  • Some explicitly say they support "Medicare for All." Others say they support a pathway to Medicare for All, a Medicare option for all, or a Medicare buy-in. Some simply say they support a "public option."
  • A handful of candidates have specifically said they do not support Sen. Bernie Sanders' Medicare for All bill, or any single-payer health care system. But most haven't drawn a hard line.

What they're saying:

  • Mary Gay Scanlon, running in Pennsylvania's 5th district, says on her website that "she supports universal healthcare, and a transition to Medicare For All, but believes that in making that transition, we must protect and repair the Affordable Care Act and support a public option system that protects the most vulnerable Americans."
  • Gil Cisneros, the Democratic candidate in California's 39th district, told ThinkProgress that Democrats' first priority should be to protect the Affordable Care Act, "and then we can keep progressing and working towards making sure everybody has Medicare for All." His website says that he'll fight to stabilize the individual market and to give people the option to buy into Medicare.
  • In Kentucky's 6th district, Democratic candidate Amy McGrath's website says that "currently proposed single-payer legislation would represent such a sweeping overhaul that it would put our healthcare system into massive upheaval. I do not support such an approach."

Go deeper

CPAC Republicans choose conservatism over constituents

Rep. Matt Gaetz. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

CPAC proved such a draw, conservative Republicans chose the conference over their constituents.

Why it matters: More than a dozen House Republicans voted by proxy on the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill in Washington so they could speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference, known as CPAC. And Sen. Ted Cruz skipped an Air Force One flight as President Biden flew to Cruz's hometown of Houston to survey storm damage.

Border Democrat warns Biden about immigrant fallout

Henry Cuellar (right). Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call Inc. via Getty Images

A Democratic lawmaker representing a border district warned the Biden administration against easing up too much on unauthorized immigrants, citing their impact on his constituents, local hospitals and their potential to spread the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) told Axios he supports President Biden. But the moderate said he sees the downsides of efforts to placate pro-immigrant groups, an effort that threatens to blow up on the administration.

3 hours ago - World

Iran rejects nuclear talks with U.S., for now

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif at Iran/EU talks in 2015. Photo: Carlos Barria/POOL/AFP via Getty

A spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry said on Sunday that conditions are not ripe for informal nuclear talks between Iran, the U.S. and other world powers.

Why it matters: The Biden administration had proposed the talks as part of its efforts to negotiate a path back to the 2015 nuclear deal. The White House expressed disappointment with Iran's response, but said it remained willing to engage with Tehran.