Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign rally in Pittsburgh. Photo: Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

The Medicare for All debate is burning red-hot this week, while more incremental health care reforms inch forward out of the spotlight.

Driving the news: Former Vice President Joe Biden said in his first official campaign speech yesterday that he supports an optional Medicare buy-in, putting him at odds with the other Democratic front-runner, Sen. Bernie Sanders, on a key 2020 issue.

  • While Sanders supports a single-payer system, Biden's plan would create a government option for enrollees in the Affordable Care Act exchanges, the Washington Post reports. Employers could also buy into the plan.
  • Today, the divide between more moderate Democrats and their left flank will be further on display in the House's first hearing on Medicare for All, which has already caused consternation between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the plan's supporters, HuffPo reported.
  • Republicans will surely relish the opportunity to hammer Democrats on their "socialist" health care plan.

Meanwhile, a different House panel will hold a hearing today on how Medicare pays for prescription drugs, and a third will consider a handful of drug pricing bills.

  • Top members of both parties see prescription drugs as the major policy area most ripe for a deal before the 2020 election.

In the states, some of Democrats' coverage expansion plans have stalled, but other states have managed to move forward. Colorado passed public option legislation last week, and Washington followed suit over the weekend, KEPR reports.

The bottom line: Health care was a winning issue for Democrats in 2018 and the party is still trying to figure out what would be a winning health care message in 2020 — playing it safe or swinging for the Medicare for All fences.

Go deeper: How your health care would change under "Medicare for All"

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Supreme Court blocks Alabama curbside voting measure

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Wednesday evening blocked a lower court order that would have allowed voters to cast ballots curbside at Alabama polling places on Election Day.

Whit it matters: With 13 days until Election Day, the justices voted 5-3 to reinstate the curbside voting ban and overturn a lower court judge's ruling designed to protect people with disabilities.

Of note: Liberal Justices Elena Kagan, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor dissented.

  • The lower court judge ruled in favor of a lawsuit arguing that curbside voting would "violate federal laws designed to protect America’s most marginalized citizens" during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Editor's note: This is a developing news story. Please check back for updates.

Updated 47 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted COVID relief bill McConnell urges White House not to strike stimulus deal before election.
  2. Economy: Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet).
  3. Health: New York reports most COVID cases since MayStudies show drop in coronavirus death rate — The next wave is gaining steam.
  4. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots — San Francisco public schools likely won't reopen before the end of the year.
  5. World: Spain becomes first nation in Western Europe to exceed 1 million cases.

U.S. officials: Iran and Russia aim to interfere in election

Iran and Russia have obtained voter registration information that can be used to undermine confidence in the U.S. election system, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe announced at a press conference Wednesday evening.

Why it matters: The revelation comes roughly two weeks before Election Day. Ratcliffe said Iran has sent threatening emails to Democratic voters this week in states across the U.S. and spread videos claiming that people can vote more than once.