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.

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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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World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Countries where novel coronavirus cases are falling may be hit with a "second peak" if they relax restrictions too soon, World Health Organization emergencies chief Mike Ryan warned during a briefing Monday. "We're still very much in a phase where the disease is actually on the way up," he added.

By the numbers: Brazil on Monday recorded for the first time more deaths from the novel coronavirus in a single day than the United States, Reuters notes. Brazil reported 807 deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, compared to 620 in the U.S. for the same period.

Palantir CEO reflects on work with ICE

Palantir CEO Alex Karp told "Axios on HBO" that there have "absolutely" been moments he wished the company hadn't taken a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

  • "Did I suffer? ... I've had some of my favorite employees leave," Karp told "Axios on HBO."

Michigan governor won't apologize for coronavirus lockdown

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer defended the strictness of her state's coronavirus lockdown in an interview with "Axios on HBO," saying it was necessary — despite the protests that have drawn national attention — because of how quickly the state's cases were rising.

The big picture: Whitmer, who has been a frequent target of President Trump, insisted that she had to act in the face of a lack of federal leadership — and that thousands more people in her state would have died without the lockdown.