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At the Races: What Does All the Health Care Talk in Campaign Ads Mean?

Decoding Democratic and Republican messaging over health care topics

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With less than a month before the midterms, Democrats and Republicans are blanketing the airwaves with ads about one of the most heated topics in American politics — health care.

Since health care can be confusing on its own, it gets even more confusing when roped into talking points for the two major parties. 

To set the stage: Remember that the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature health law, was passed in 2010. While many Republicans were hopeful after President Donald Trump’s election in 2016 that the ACA could be rolled back or replaced, several initiatives to do that — including the GOP-backed American Health Care Act, also known as Trumpcare — ultimately failed in the Senate during the summer of 2017

Roll Call sat down with CQ’s health care policy reporter Mary Ellen McIntire to understand what’s really going on with Democrats and Republicans’ latest fight over health care in the 2018 election. Watch the full video of our interview with McIntire above. Or zero in on each topic — pre-existing conditions, the “Age Tax,” and single-payer — broken out below.

First up: Why are the parties fighting about pre-existing conditions?

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Next, anything that needs quotes around it usually needs explaining. Here’s more on the so-called Age Tax:

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Finally, the parties are still at war over single-payer health care. Let’s review the basics on what all that means:

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