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(Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Republicans are escalating attacks on Democrats' "Medicare for All plans" — even against Democrats who don't actually support it, WaPo's Dave Weigel reports. The most ambitious forms of "Medicare for All" would be expensive, but there's not much hard evidence for Republicans' claims that they would erode the existing program.

The other side: Democrats have been trying to make this election about health care, namely Republicans' approach to pre-existing conditions protections, and are happy to keep the focus on health care despite their internal divisions over "Medicare for All."

What they're saying: Weigel cites three Republican incumbents – Reps. Dave Brat, Andy Barr and Bruce Poliquin – who are running ads warning voters that their Democratic opponents will hurt Medicare.

  • Of these three races, only one of the Democrats has said they support Medicare for All.
  • Republicans are also criticizing Democrats' support of Medicare for All based on its price tag, like in the Maryland gubernatorial race (Ben Jealous has said he supports the policy.)

In Tennessee, the Senate Leadership Fund is running an ad against former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen – who's running for the open Senate seat – that says Bredesen supports single-payer health care.

  • His campaign said in a fact sheet that he's said he doesn't support single-payer health care.
  • "Saying you are for single-payer or not is like saying are you for war or not," Bredesen told National Journal. "Well, tell me a little more.”
  • Also Bredesen, on C-SPAN in 2010: “Single payer, the federal government collecting the money and then turning it over, I mean that’s what I think actually we should do. Single payer in the sense of Medicare, where government is collecting the money and then is paying all the claims, I think would be a disastrous direction for the country."

Be smart: Medicare for All is both a bill sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders and a Democratic catch-all term for expanding government health coverage. The party will inevitably have to fight out what version of this it will rally behind.

  • Either way, Republicans are hoping the concept proves toxic and gets their voters to turn out in November.

Go deeper: The Democratic socialists' campaign playbook

The Democratic debate on what counts as "Medicare for All"

Go deeper

Coronavirus hospitalizations top 100,000 for the first time

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking ProjectHarvard Global Health Institute; Cartogram: Danielle Alberti and Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

More than 100,000 Americans are now in the hospital with coronavirus infections — a new record, an indication that the pandemic is continuing to get worse and a reminder that the virus is still very dangerous.

Why it matters: Hospitalizations are a way to measure severe illnesses — and severe illnesses are on the rise across the U.S. In some areas, health systems and health care workers are already overwhelmed, and outbreaks are only getting worse.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
25 mins ago - Economy & Business

Our make-believe economy

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Federal Reserve and global central banks are remaking the world's economy in an effort to save it, but have created something of a monster.

Why it matters: The Fed-driven economy relies on the creation of trillions of dollars — literally out of thin air — that are used to purchase bonds and push money into a pandemic-ravaged economy that has long been dependent on free cash and is only growing more addicted.

New hope for "smart cities"

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It's time to polish our gleaming vision of urban environments where internet technology makes everything from finding a parking space to measuring air quality a snap.

Why it matters: The Biden administration's Cabinet appointees are likely to be champions of bold futurism in urban planning — which could mean that smart infrastructure projects, like broadband deployment and digital city services, get fresh funding and momentum.