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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

5 hours ago - Health

FDA advisory panel recommends Pfizer boosters for those 65 and older

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Key Biscayne Community Center on Aug. 24, 2021. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday overwhelmingly voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, but unanimously recommended approving the third shots for individuals 65 and older, as well as those at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: While the votes are non-binding, and the FDA must still make a final decision, Friday's move pours cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine later this month.

6 hours ago - World

France recalls ambassadors from U.S. and Australia over submarine deal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L), French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (C), and French ambassador to the U.S. Philippe Etienne. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

France has taken the extraordinary step of recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia after both countries blindsided their French allies with a new military pact and submarine contract, the French Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.

The backstory: While sealing an agreement with the U.S. and U.K. to acquire nuclear submarines, Australia ripped up an existing $90 billion submarine deal with France. That led senior French officials to accuse the U.S. of a "stab in the back."

Updated 6 hours ago - World

In reversal, Pentagon now says drone strike killed 10 Afghan civilians

Caskets for the dead are carried towards the gravesite as relatives and friends attend a mass funeral for members of a family that is said to have been killed in a U.S. drone airstrike, in Kabul on Aug. 30. Photo: Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A U.S. drone strike launched on Aug. 29 killed 10 civilians in Afghanistan, including seven children, rather than the Islamic State extremists the Biden administration claimed it targeted, the Pentagon said Friday.

Why it matters: U.S. Central Command said at the time that officials "know" the drone strike "disrupted an imminent ISIS-K threat" to Kabul's airport, and that they were "confident we successfully hit the target."