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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"

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Kaine, Collins pitch Senate colleagues on censuring Trump

Sen. Tim Kaine speaks with Sen. Susan Collins. Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP via Getty Images

Sens. Tim Kaine and Susan Collins are privately pitching their colleagues on a bipartisan resolution censuring former President Trump, three sources familiar with the discussions tell Axios.

Why it matters: Senators are looking for a way to condemn Trump on the record as it becomes increasingly unlikely Democrats will obtain the 17 Republican votes needed to gain a conviction in his second impeachment.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Anthony Coley to lead Justice Department public affairs

Photo: Xinhua/Ting Shen via Getty Images

Judge Merrick Garland, President Biden’s nominee for attorney general, has tapped Anthony Coley, an Obama-era Treasury Department official, to serve as a senior adviser and to lead public affairs at the Department of Justice, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: As the public face of the DOJ, Coley will help explain — and defend — the department's actions, from sensitive cases to prosecutorial decisions, including the investigation into Hunter Biden.

AP: Justice Dept. rescinds "zero tolerance" policy

A young girl waves to onlookers through the fence at the U.S.-Mexico border wall in San Ysidro, California, in Nov. 2018. Photo: Sandy Huffaker/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden's acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson issued a memo on Tuesday to revoke the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy, which separated thousands of migrant children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border, AP first reported.

Driving the news: A recent report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz emphasized the internal chaos at the agency over the implementation of the policy, which resulted in 545 parents separated from their children as of October 2020.