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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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From our Expert Voices conversation on plans for health care reform after Trump's executive order:

Trump's executive order is unlikely to produce as much change as administration officials hope and ACA supporters fear.

  • Association Health Plans have a long and not-so-favorable history. The basic problem is that they are voluntary, which makes them unstable and risky. Even if the administration finds a legally viable way to make it easier for small businesses to form and join AHPs, most businesses will be wary of jumping into them because of the risk of failure.
  • The administration can make short-term, limited-duration insurance more widely available, but these policies will remain niche products with a small market potential.
  • The changes to Health Reimbursement Arrangements are too ambiguous to evaluate.

The ACA exchanges are suffering from adverse selection, but they will remain viable because the law's generous subsidies can only be used to pay for coverage bought through them. A new federal regulation cannot alter this reality either.

What's next: The Alexander-Murray compromise is a good first attempt at bipartisanship, but it is flawed. Democrats want to fund the cost-sharing reduction subsidies through 2019. If this plan is agreed to, Democrats will have no incentive to continue negotiating until after the 2018 midterms and the GOP would lose its opportunity to make more progress on health care.

Other voices in the conversation:

  • John McDonough, professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and former Senate adviser on health reform: Obamacare is dead. Long live the Affordable Care Act.
  • Jeanne Lambrew, senior fellow at the Century Foundation and deputy assistant to the president for health policy in the Obama White House: Health care fix today could be undone tomorrow
  • Tevi Troy, CEO of the American Health Policy Institute and former deputy secretary of HHS: Expanding HRAs would bolster individual market
  • Christopher Condeluci, principal at CC Law and Policy and former tax and benefits counsel to the Senate Finance Committee: Clearing the air on AHPs

Go deeper

Movie theaters go out of style

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Vaccination rates are going up, people are going out to restaurants again — although the new COVID variant may get in the way — but they still aren't rushing back to the movies.

By the numbers: Some 49% of pre-pandemic moviegoers are no longer hitting theaters, according to a study from the film research company The Quorum, as reported by the New York Times.

2 hours ago - Health

Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles down

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

European countries are doubling down on pressure campaigns to get people vaccinated just as Republicans continue to wage war — often successfully — against vaccine mandates in the U.S.

Why it matters: The starkly different approaches create a sharp contrast between the regions' approaches to vaccination, even as the Omicron variant rapidly spreads around the world.

3 hours ago - World

Two years of COVID-19

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Axios Visuals

Two years ago Wednesday, the first case of a mysterious new respiratory disease was discovered in Wuhan, China. Now, the Omicron variant has deepened concerns about just how much longer the coronavirus pandemic will last.

The big picture: More than 5 million people have died since that first case. Most people on earth have lived through some form of lockdown. 54% of the global population has had at least one vaccination, though the shots have been distributed unevenly.