Oct 2, 2018

ACA competition dwindles under Trump

The Trump administration has been touting the fact that Affordable Care Act coverage is on track for relatively modest premium increases next year in much of the country. But a new paper published in Health Affairs offers a reminder that Trump has not been a friend to the ACA’s exchanges.

Data: Kaiser Family Foundation; Map: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

By the numbers: In 2016, 93% of the country lived in a county where they'd have at least three insurers to choose from, if they wanted to buy coverage through the exchanges. This year, that's down to 60% of the population.

Unsurprisingly, the places where insurers backed out tended to be rural, impoverished and unhealthy.

"It is unclear" whether this trend "represented a long-run equilibrium or more transient factors such as the fluid policy environment and insurer 'panic' over early losses," the paper says.

The bottom line: Premiums also skyrocketed in this period — the average premium for a middle-of-the-road policy rose by about 37% from 2017 to 2018. And insurers have said plainly that policy changes from the administration and congressional Republicans made them skittish.

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In photos: India welcomes president with massive "Namaste Trump" rally

People await the arrival of President Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad, northwest India, before the start of the "Namaste Trump Rally." Photo: Money Sharma/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump, first lady Melania Trump, his elder daughter and senior adviser Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner arrived at Sardar Vallabhbhai International Airport in Ahmedabad, India, Monday for a two-day visit, local media footage shows.

Why it matters: The countries are forging deeper ties as India’s location, size and economic growth making it the "obvious counterweight to China" for American policymakers, per Axios' Dave Lawler and Zachary Basu. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is demonstrating the importance of the visit by holding a massive "Namaste Trump Rally" at the world's largest cricket stadium in Ahmedabad, northwest India.

Concern over coronavirus spread: Italy, South Korea and Iran report more cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The number of novel coronavirus cases in South Korea, Italy and Iran jumped on Sunday as infections in mainland China continued to grow, the latest figures show.

The big picture: As South Korea and Italy stepped up emergency measures amid rising case numbers, World Health Organization officials expressed concern about infections with no clear link to China. COVID-19 has killed at least 2,619 people and infected almost 80,000 others, with all but 27 deaths occurring in mainland China.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

Sanders reveals free childcare plan for preschoolers

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign rally on Saturday in El Paso, Texas. Photo: Cengiz Yar/Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders announced on CBS' "60 Minutes" Sunday a new plan to guarantee free child care and pre-kindergarten to all American children from infancy to age four.

Details: In the wide-ranging interview, Sanders told Anderson Cooper he planned to pay for universal childcare with a wealth tax. "It's taxes on billionaires," he said.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy