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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

One Democratic defector in the Senate could sink the party's effort to lower prescription drug prices, and a series of new ad campaigns are giving strong hints about who advocates are most worried about.

Driving the news: Two organizations advocating for Medicare to have the authority to negotiate drug prices announced new ad campaigns yesterday.

  • Protect Our Care said it's launching digital ads in New Jersey and West Virginia advocating for Medicare negotiations. It's also running ads in Arizona and has plans to add Delaware to the list. 
  • These states are represented by Sens. Bob Menendez, Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema and Tom Carper — all members who are either politically moderate or considered more sympathetic to the drug industry than the rest of the caucus. 
  • Patients for Affordable Drugs Now announced a pro-Medicare negotiations campaign targeted specifically at Menendez, Carper and Sen. Bob Casey, all of whom are members of the Senate committee tasked with writing the legislation. 

The intrigue: The Patients for Affordable Drugs Now campaign originally included Sen. Michael Bennet as well, but the organization announced yesterday that it's suspending its activity in Colorado. 

  • "We received strong assurances of Senator Bennet's continued commitment to fighting for a strong Senate Finance Committee drug pricing bill that will include an effective approach to Medicare negotiation," the organization said in a statement. 

Go deeper

Oct 7, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Manchin demands progressives prioritize

Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is telling colleagues that progressives need to pick just one of President Biden’s three signature policies for helping working families and discard the other two, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: By forcing progressives to choose among an expanded child tax credit, paid family medical leave or subsidies for child care, Manchin is complicating any potential deal— but also signaling his willingness to negotiate.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker

Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates

A teacher prepares a hallway barrier to help students maintain social distancing at John B. Wright Elementary School in Tucson, Arizona, on Aug. 14, 2020. Photo: Cheney Orr/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) filed a lawsuit Friday against the Biden administration for ordering the state to stop allocating federal COVID relief funds to schools that don't comply with public health recommendations such as masking, the Arizona Republic reports.

Why it matters: The Treasury Department said last week that the state would have to pay back the money if Ducey does not redesignate the $173 million programs to ensure they don't "undermine efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19."