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AP file photo

The number of people who enrolled in Affordable Care Act coverage for 2017 and paid their premiums — rather than just signing up — is 10.3 million, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced today. That's down from the 12.2 million people who had signed up for health care plans during the ACA's last open-enrollment period, meaning 1.9 million people didn't follow through by paying their premiums.

Why it happened: A separate CMS survey found that nearly half of all people who canceled their coverage before paying their premiums said they were worried about the cost.

Why it matters: It's likely to add to the debate about how successful the ACA actually is — and whether the Trump administration hurt enrollment by pulling some of the advertising at the end. There's always a drop off when some ACA customers don't pay their premiums, but this year's total is significantly lower than last year's, when 11.1 million people enrolled and paid their premiums.

Go deeper

Drought, record heat wave in West tied to climate change

People on Folsom Lake in Granite Bay, California, U.S., June 16, 2021. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The prolonged and widespread heat wave in the West, along with the region's increasingly severe drought, is a sign of how climate change has already tilted the odds in favor of such extremes, studies show.

Why it matters: The rapidly growing Southwest, in particular, is also the nation's fastest-warming region. The combination of heat and drought could lead to a repeat, or even eclipse, the severity of 2020's wildfire season in California and other states.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Energy & Environment

What to watch as infrastructure talks heat up

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A mix of Beltway action and extreme weather events have brought the fault lines in infrastructure talks and their planetary stakes into sharper focus.

Catch up fast: Senate Democratic leaders pledged to seek big climate measures in a multitrillion-dollar, Democrats-only package that faces a very narrow political path.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
4 hours ago - Sports

The sports stock market

Note: Michael Jordan's card is for baseball; Data: Alt; Table: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Shohei Ohtani's trading card value has risen 781% since the start of 2021, the highest year-to-date return of any athlete on Alt, a sports card exchange that aims to bring more liquidity to alternative assets.

Why it matters: The trading card market is the closest thing we have to a stock market for sports.