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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

The recovery needs rocket fuel

Data: BLS. Chart: Axios Visuals

Friday's deeply disappointing jobs report should light a fire under Congress, which has dithered despite signs the economy is struggling to kick back into gear.

Driving the news: President-elect Biden said Friday afternoon in Wilmington that he supports another round of $1,200 checks.

1 hour ago - Health

CDC: It's time for "universal face mask use"

Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty

The CDC is urging “universal face mask use” for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began, citing recent case spikes as the U.S. has entered a phase of “high-level transmission” before winter officially begins.

Why it matters: Daily COVID-related deaths across the U.S. hit a new record on Wednesday. Face coverings have been shown to increase protection of the wearer and those around them, despite some Americans' reluctance to use them.

3 hours ago - World

Saudi Arabia and Qatar near deal to end standoff, sources say

Qatar's prime minister (R) attends the 2019 Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Saudi Arabia. Photo: Fayez Nureldine/AFP via Getty

Saudi Arabia and Qatar are close to a deal to end the diplomatic crisis in the Gulf following U.S.-mediated reconciliation talks this week, sources familiar with the talks tell me.

Why it matters: Restoring relations between Saudi Arabia and Qatar would bring a sense of stability back to the Gulf after a 3.5 year standoff. It could also notch a last-minute achievement for the Trump administration before Jan. 20.