Dr. Bob: What Trump's illness means for healthcare and Virginia political races

Posted at 8:58 AM, Oct 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-03 08:58:12-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- What's the impact of President Donald Trump‘s hospitalization for treatment of COVID-19 on the presidential race and other races, especially here in Virginia?

CBS 6 political analyst Dr. Bob Holsworth said, for one thing, it puts healthcare as a top focus of the campaign.

“I think the President had wanted to argue that we've turned the corner on this and we need to focus on the economy," Holsworth said on the CBS 6 News at 7. "And now, by and large, once again, because of the president and the First Lady dealing with the coronavirus, this is right at the center of the campaign once again.”

Holsworth pointed out Virginia was not likely to see many presidential visits as the campaign entereded its final month.

“Nationally, we have very tight senatorial races that are in battleground states, and the president was going to be there,” said Holsworth. “And now these candidates are going to have to all do their own strategies about how they're going to go about trying to appeal to Trump voters. More than that, I think it throws into question this whole issue of debates, how Joe Biden and Donald Trump are going to interact from now on.”

He noted that one of the tightest races in the country right now is Virginia’s 7th District.

“Let's take a look, for example, at the Nick Freitas and Rep. Abigail Spanberger race, which is really the most competitive one in our region,” said Holsworth. “And what's happening there is that the race isn't about COVID-19 as much as it's about healthcare. They're talking about pre-existing conditions, if you look at their commercials, healthcare is a really a dominant issue in the race, I think. And my sense is that COVID-19 certainly plays into that.”

Holsworth said with the future of the Affordable Care Act on the Supreme Court docket in early November, pocketbook issues are growing in importance.

“They’re also talking about access to prescription drugs, about how much people have to pay for deductibles,” Holsworth said. “Democrats, for example, will argue that COVID-19 is going to become a pre-existing condition if you had it, so it's imperative to save Obamacare.”