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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Photo: John Lamparski/Getty Images

State and local Democrats are embracing a bigger role for public insurance programs — or at least, they want to be seen as embracing a bigger role for public insurance programs.

Driving the news: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio put together an extensive media rollout yesterday for what he billed as a revolutionary plan to “guarantee health care for every New Yorker,” through a locally run public option.

  • Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee also announced his own plan for a statewide public option.
  • A day earlier, California Gov. Gavin Newsom called for expanding the Affordable Care Act’s premium subsidies in his state.
  • Democrats in Colorado’s legislature are also eyeing a public insurance option.
  • A handful of other states — most notably New Mexico — are also expected to look seriously at Medicaid buy-in proposals this year.

Yes, but: Some of these plans aren’t as Earth-shattering as they may seem.

  • De Blasio’s pitch, for example, largely seems to either extend or simply reiterate the availability of existing programs.
  • Details about Inslee’s proposed public option are also patchy.

The big picture: The political calculus here is a lot more clear than the policy. If you’re a Democrat, especially a progressive Democrat, especially a progressive Democrat with at least some national profile or ambition, you want to be on the side of expanding access to public insurance programs.

  • This is an echo of “Medicare for All” — a popular political alignment with a whole lot of policy debates and decisions still to come.
  • But having some work left to do on policy isn’t the end of the world.
  • States’ efforts to set up new programs, or to expand access to Medicaid, will help inform a lot of future decisions about what’s most effective and most politically feasible.
  • That will shape other states’ efforts, as well as the 2020 campaign.

Go deeper: Newsom wants to expand ACA subsidies in California

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine

Containers carrying doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine arrive in Brazil. Photo: Maurio Pimentel/AFP via Getty Images

Brazil on Saturday began distributing the 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine that arrived from India Friday, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Brazil has the third highest COVID-19 case-count in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The 2 million doses "only scratch the surface of the shortfall," Brazilian public health experts told the AP.

Sullivan speaks with Israel's national security adviser for the first time

Israeli national security adviser Meir Ben Shabbat U.S. Photo: Mazen Mahdi/Getty Images. U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan. Photo: Chandan Khanna/Getty Images

U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke on the phone Saturday with his Israeli counterpart Meir Ben Shabbat, Israeli officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: This is the first contact between the Biden White House and Israeli prime minister's office. During the transition, the Biden team refrained from speaking to foreign governments.

Biden speaks to Mexican president about reversing Trump's "draconian immigration policies"

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

President Biden told his Mexican counterpart, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, on a phone call Friday that he plans to reverse former President Trump’s “draconian immigration policies.”

The big picture: The Biden administration has already started repealing several of Trump’s immigration policies, including ordering a 100-day freeze on deporting many unauthorized immigrants, halting work on the southern border wall, and reversing plans to exclude undocumented people from being included in the 2020 census.