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Pro-ACA protestors. Photo: Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

States are beginning to make contingency plans in case the courts strike down the Affordable Care Act, WSJ reports.

Yes, but: There's only so much they can do.

Where it stands: As we all wait for the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to hand down its ruling, and then for the likely appeal to the Supreme Court...

  • Colorado is looking to its state-level public option, still under formation, as an ACA fallback.
  • Nevada has formed a commission to look for ideas.
  • Louisiana is working on a plan to establish a high-risk pool for sick people.

The catch: Even setting aside the fact that this is only a small handful of states, even the most motivated blue state probably couldn't make up for the total loss of the ACA.

  • They could not deliver themselves a federally funded Medicaid expansion, for starters, and would have to raise an awful lot of revenue to replace the premium subsidies on the ACA's exchanges.
  • States would face their own drawn-out political battles if they wanted to re-impose the ACA's protections for pre-existing conditions and the accompanying rules that give the coverage mandate teeth.

And that's just the ACA's coverage expansion: States definitely couldn't fill the ACA's shoes on Medicare policy, biosimilars approval or the host of other programs that would fall by the wayside if the law is ultimately struck down.

Go Deeper: 10 states to experiment with wellness programs in their ACA markets

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Harris breaks tie as Senate proceeds with lengthy debate on COVID relief bill

Photo: Oliver Contreras/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Senate on Thursday voted 51-50 — with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie — to proceed to debate on President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue package, likely setting up a final vote this weekend.

The state of play: Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) is forcing the Senate clerk to read the entire 628-page bill on the floor, a procedural move that will likely add 10 hours to the 20 hours already allotted for debate.

3 hours ago - World

Netanyahu campaigns against Biden's plan to save Iran deal

Netanyahu campaigns at a gym last month. Photo: Pool/AFP via Getty

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indirectly criticized the Biden administration for its intention to return to the Iran nuclear deal and told his supporters he was prepared to "stand against the entire world" to stop it.

Why it matters: This is a major change of tune for Netanyahu, who had been careful in his statements on the Iran deal and avoided publicly criticizing President Biden. The statement was part of Netanyahu's attempt to rally his base ahead of Israel's election on March 23.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Tech: "Fludemic" model accurately maps COVID hotspotsVirtual doctor's visits and digital health tools take off.
  2. Politics: Schumer says Senate will stay through weekend to vote on COVID relief — Republican governor of West Virginia says there's no plan to lift mask mandate.
  3. World: Canada vaccine panel recommends 4 months between doses.
  4. Business: Firms develop new ways to inoculate the public.
  5. Local: Ultra-rich Florida community got vaccinations in January.