Health Care Helped Sweep Democrats Into House In Midterms, But Has It Shifted Back To An Achilles’ Heel?
In the past couple of years, Democrats have found health care to be a winning issue for them politically. But as the candidates edge toward "Medicare for All" and public option plans, the issue could once again become a weak spot. And outlets take a look at which issues were missing from this week's debates.
The Associated Press:
Health Care Comes In Focus, This Time As Risk For Democrats
With health care at the center of presidential politics, Democrats are split over eliminating employer-provided health insurance under "Medicare for All." The risk is that history has shown voters are wary of disruptions to job-based insurance, the mainstay of coverage for Americans over three generations. Divisions were on display in the two Democratic debates this week, with Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren calling for a complete switch to government-run health insurance for all. (Alonso-Zaldivar, 8/1)
Schumer Warns Democrats Against 'Circular Firing Squad' On Health Care
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Thursday warned Democratic presidential candidates not to become so focused on the internal differences over health care that they lose sight of fighting against President Trump. ..."If we get all focused on the differences between, say Bernie [Sanders] and Cory [Booker] and Mayor Pete [Buttigieg] and [John] Hickenlooper, we'll lose sight of the fact that it's Donald Trump who's now trying to reduce health care, destroy health care, get rid of it for everybody," Schumer said. (Weixel, 8/1)
Warren Has Lots Of Plans. But Not On Health Care.
Elizabeth Warren boasts she has a plan for everything, but there’s one glaring omission: health care. Warren, who has recently leaped into the top tier of a crowded primary field as she rolled out detailed policies for seemingly everything — from climate change to the opioid crisis to breaking up tech giants — has instead embraced “Medicare for All” legislation from Sen. Bernie Sanders, her foremost progressive rival. And for many single-payer activists thrilled the once-fringe issue has entered the party’s mainstream, that’s good enough. (Ollstein, 8/2)
The Washington Post:
Democrats' Failure To Talk About Drug Prices Was 'A Missed Opportunity'
The soaring cost of prescription drugs is among voters’ greatest concerns, but the issue drew little attention from the Democratic candidates during this week’s presidential debates. The low wattage trained on the issue during nearly six hours of debate Tuesday and Wednesday contrasts with the attention President Trump and his top aides are showering on the issue. That partisan gap poses risks for Democrats who might forfeit the advantage they have long held when voters are asked which party they trust to fix health-care problems, according to health policy analysts and pollsters. (Goldstein, 8/1)
The Democratic Debates Mostly Ignored The Opioid Epidemic
We’ve now had four nights of Democratic debates — and in all that time, we’ve learned next to nothing about what any of the candidates want to do about America’s opioid epidemic, one of the worst public health crises facing the country. Throughout the debates, the opioid epidemic was only mentioned in asides, used as a vehicle to make a broader point rather than an issue unto itself. Joe Biden and Beto O’Rourke brought up opioids to criticize the health care industry. Cory Booker brought them up to blast incarcerating people who use drugs. Andrew Yang did so to vaguely talk about how the economy is sending people into despair. No one explained how they plan to fight the crisis head on. (Lopez, 8/1)
The Washington Post:
Black Voters Hear Little In Debate To Excite Them
Some who watched said they were disappointed that in a debate held in Detroit, which is 79 percent black, there was only a passing discussion of the social and economic disparities between blacks and whites that have increased as the region recovers from the automotive industry crisis. And in Flint, which grabbed headlines five years ago when it was discovered that local officials had made decisions that resulted in lead and other toxins contaminating the water supply, those attending watch parties were disappointed that some candidates said nothing about their ongoing challenge to get safe drinking water. (Williams, 8/1)
Kaiser Health News:
KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Deciphering The Democrats’ Health Debate
Twenty Democratic candidates for president debated health care at length over two nights in Detroit this week. But countless 30-second charges and countercharges from “Medicare for All” backers and those who want a more gradual approach to universal coverage may have left the audience more confused than ever about the best way to make the health system better and more affordable. (8/1)