OnPolitics: How the politics of health care could affect the midterms

Good afternoon, OnPolitics readers! It’s Amy with today’s top stories. While polls suggest the economy, abortion and crime remain top of mind among many midterm voters, health care remains a motivating issue for some . In several battleground states, the issue could help determine whether Republicans wrestle back control of Congress or whether Democrats expand their narrow grip, Ken Tran, Medora Lee and Sarah Elbeshbishi report.

While inflation dominates voter headspace, health care is still a top “second tier” issue to voters, said Bob Blendon, a professor of health policy and political analysis, emeritus, at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. It might be hard for most voters to isolate on the rising health care costs when the price of other daily necessities such as food, gas and utilities has skyrocketed in the past year. And when they do, it’s all about the effect on their bank accounts, Blendon said.

Trailing in the polls and vastly outspent, Democrat Charlie Crist went at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at the outset of the hourlong debate Monday night. “You’re going to hear a stark contrast in this debate and this election,” Crist said in his opening statement. “It’s a stark contrast between somebody who believes in a woman’s right to choose, I think that’s fundamentally important, and Gov. DeSantis has signed a bill that would restrict that right, even in cases of rape or incest.” DeSantis didn’t immediately respond to the abortion topic. But he did repeatedly work over the hour to link his Democratic opponent to President Joe Biden, who is unpopular in most polls.