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Premiums for insurance sold through the Affordable Care Act are going down next year, for the first time in the law’s history. But they could be going down even more, if not for some of the Trump administration’s policy choices.

By the numbers: Across all insurance plans that comply with the ACA — whether they’re sold through the exchanges or not — premiums are about 6% higher than they otherwise could have been, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation analysis.

  • The difference is even starker for middle-of-the-road silver plans — the most popular type of plan sold through the ACA’s exchanges that's also used to determine the size of people’s subsidies. Those could be 16% cheaper, Kaiser says.

How it works: Trump’s decision to cut off the law’s cost-sharing subsidies caused insurers to raise premiums significantly, mostly for those silver plans. Nullifying the individual mandate and opening up access to skimpier short-term plans are also expected to hurt the ACA’s overall mix of sick and healthy people.

  • Those factors all drove premiums higher this year, and will limit the size of premium decreases next year, Kaiser says.

Go deeper

Myanmar military fires UN ambassador after anti-coup speech

Photo: Peerapon Boonyakiat/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Myanmar's military regime on Saturday fired the country's Ambassador to the United Nations, Kyaw Moe Tun, a day after he gave a pro-democracy speech asking UN member nations to publicly condemn the Feb. 1 coup, The New York Times reports.

Details: State television said the ambassador had "betrayed the country and spoken for an unofficial organization which doesn’t represent the country and had abused the power and responsibilities of an ambassador."

Scoop: Biden admin call on Putin pipeline provokes GOP anger

Putin chairs a video meeting in July 2020. Photo: Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

A briefing between the State Department and congressional staff over Vladimir Putin's Russia-Germany gas pipeline got tense this week, with Biden officials deflecting questions about why they hadn't moved faster and more aggressively with sanctions to stop its completion.

  • The Biden officials also denied negotiating with the Germans over a potential side deal to allow the pipeline to be finished.
Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

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  2. Vaccine: FDA advisory panel endorses J&J COVID vaccine for emergency use — About 20% of U.S. adults have received first vaccine dose, White House says — New data reignites the debate over coronavirus vaccine strategy.
  3. Economy: What's really going on with the labor market.
  4. Local: All adult Minnesotans will likely be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by summer — Another wealthy Florida community receives special access to COVID-19 vaccine.
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