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Expand chart
Data: Kaiser Family Foundation; Note: 2019 analysis based on healthcare.gov filings as of Oct. 24, 2018; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplaces will be more competitive next year than they were this year, according to a report yesterday from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Yes, but: 2018 was the low point for ACA competition. The marketplaces still aren’t back to where they were in their best years — 2015 and 2016, when only a handful of ACA customers didn’t have a choice of insurers.

By the numbers: Insurers started bailing on the exchanges in 2017 and continued in 2018, leaving more than a quarter of ACA customers with only one available insurer.

  • Now that’s down to 17%. But there’s a long way to go before the competition is healthy again.

ACA enrollment, meanwhile, continues to lag noticeably behind last year's pace.

  • A little less than 1.2 million people have selected insurance plans through HealthCare.gov in the first 2 weeks of this open enrollment period — about 300,000 fewer than in the first 2 weeks of the last enrollment season.
  • Last year's "first 2 weeks" update included an extra day from this year's. But that alone does not explain such a steep drop.

Go deeper

Wall Street braces for more turbulence ahead of Election Day

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Wall Street is digging in for a potentially rocky period as Election Day gets closer.

Why it matters: Investors are facing a "three-headed monster," Brian Belski, chief investment strategist at BMO Capital Markets, tells Axios — a worsening pandemic, an economic stimulus package in limbo, and an imminent election.

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

How Biden might tackle the Iran deal

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Four more years of President Trump would almost certainly kill the Iran nuclear deal — but the election of Joe Biden wouldn’t necessarily save it.

The big picture: Rescuing the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is near the top of Biden's foreign policy priority list. He says he'd re-enter the deal once Iran returns to compliance, and use it as the basis on which to negotiate a broader and longer-lasting deal with Iran.

Kamala Harris, the new left's insider

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images     

Progressive leaders see Sen. Kamala Harris, if she's elected vice president, as their conduit to a post-Biden Democratic Party where the power will be in younger, more diverse and more liberal hands.

  • Why it matters: The party's rising left sees Harris as the best hope for penetrating Joe Biden's older, largely white inner circle.

If Biden wins, Harris will become the first woman, first Black American and first Indian American to serve as a U.S. vice president — and would instantly be seen as the first in line for the presidency should Biden decide against seeking a second term.