In 2018, Democrats won the midterm elections on the issue of health care, specifically protecting the Affordable Care Act and its guarantee of coverage for pre existing conditions. It was a hard-earned victory: Passing the ACA was a major reason Democrats lost the House and seats in the Senate in 2010 , and polls showed the ACA was not a winner for Democrats in 2012, 2014 or 2016. Now, the question is: Having won the upper hand on health care, will Democrats give it back in 2020?
What might squander that advantage? A primary battle among Democrats who all favor universal coverage but have differences about how to get there. Candidates seeking advantage in that contest by questioning the purity of one another’s views on health care, or conversely, trying to scare voters with nightmare scenarios about those with more liberal views. And most important, a focus on internecine differences instead of on the sharp contrast between the core Democratic position and the Republican stand on the future of health coverage in our country.