Julie Rovner

In one of his first proposals since becoming the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden is wading back into the roiling waters of health policy.

In a nod to the effects of COVID-19 on the economy, and in what is clearly an overture to supporters of the "Medicare for All" plan pushed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Biden wants to lower the age of eligibility for Medicare from 65 to 60.

Any day now, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans could rule that the entire Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional.

At least it seemed that two of the three appeals court judges were leaning that way during oral arguments in the case, State of Texas v. USA, in July.

The politics of health care are changing. And one of the most controversial parts of the Affordable Care Act — the so-called "Cadillac tax" — may be about to change with it.

The Cadillac tax is a 40% tax on the most generous employer-provided health insurance plans — those that cost more than $11,200 per year for an individual policy or $30,150 for family coverage. It was a tax on employers and was supposed to take effect in 2018, but Congress has delayed implementation twice.

The fate of the Affordable Care Act is again on the line Tuesday, as a federal appeals court in New Orleans takes up a case in which a lower court judge has already ruled the massive health law unconstitutional.

If last Friday's district court ruling that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional were to be upheld, far more than the law's most high-profile provisions would be at stake.

In fact, canceling the law in full — as Judge Reed O'Connor in Fort Worth, Texas, ordered in his 55-page decision — could thrust the entire health care system into chaos.

Once again, Medicare is moving front and center in this fall's campaigns.

Throughout the election season, Democrats have been criticizing Republicans over votes and lawsuits that would eliminate insurance protections for pre-existing conditions for consumers.

But now Republicans are working to change the health care conversation with a tried-and-true technique used by both parties over the years: telling seniors their Medicare coverage may be in danger.

Senate Democrats, who are divided on abortion policy, are instead turning to health care as a rallying cry for opposition to Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump's Supreme Court nominee.

Specifically, they are sounding the alarm that confirming the conservative U.S. Court of Appeals judge could jeopardize one of the Affordable Care Act's most popular provisions — its protections for people with pre-existing health conditions.

What would the U.S. look like without Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that legalized abortion nationwide?

That's the question now that President Trump has chosen conservative Judge Brett Kavanaugh as his nominee to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

The Trump administration is refusing to defend key parts of the Affordable Care Act, essentially arguing that federal courts should find the health law's protections for people with pre-existing conditions unconstitutional.

The federal lawsuit hinges on the ACA's individual mandate, or the requirement to get health coverage or pay a penalty. The mandate has long been a sticking point for conservatives, who argue that the government should not be telling individuals what coverage they must have.

As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump promised abortion opponents four specific actions to "advance the rights of unborn children and their mothers."

One year into his presidency, three of those items remain undone. Nevertheless, opponents of abortion have made significant progress in changing the direction of federal and state policies.

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