Matthew Hurst / Flickr Creative Commons

Anthem CEO Joe Swedish said Wednesday that the individual market under Obamacare "has not been working well," and his insurance company is aggressively lobbying Congress to make specific changes, which could determine the extent of Anthem's Obamacare participation in 2018.

Anthem's biggest demands: Repeal the health insurance tax (which is temporarily suspended for this year), extend so-called "grandmother" plans (pre-Obamacare policies) indefinitely, decrease the number of exemptions for special enrollments, and prohibit third parties (such as dialysis groups) from steering patients into Obamacare plans when they are eligible for Medicare or Medicaid.

Why this matters: Anthem is one of the biggest publicly traded health insurers in the Obamacare marketplaces, covering about 839,000 exchange enrollees as of Dec. 31. If Anthem doesn't get what it wants and retreats, that would be a huge blow to the marketplaces — perhaps destabilizing. It's worth noting, though, that Anthem expects to break even or be even slightly profitable on its Obamacare plans for 2017.

Go deeper

5 hours ago - Health

Fauci says if people won't wear masks, maybe it should be mandated

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Graeme Jennings- Pool/Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci told CNN on Friday evening that if "people are not wearing masks, then maybe we should be mandating it."

Why it matters: Fauci made the comments the same day the U.S. hit its highest daily COVID-19 case count since the pandemic began.

Harris to Black voters: Casting a ballot is about honoring your ancestors

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris speaks at a "Get Out The Vote" rally at Morehouse College. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Kamala Harris appealed to Black voters in Georgia on Friday, urging them to "honor the ancestors" by casting ballots, and again calling President Trump a "racist."

Why it matters: The U.S. saw a significant decline in African-American voter turnout between 2012 and 2016, reaching its lowest point since 2000. Higher turnout among Black Americans this year could tip the balance in favor of Democrats in key battleground states, including Georgia.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci: Trump hasn't been to a COVID task force meeting in months.
  2. Sports: The youth sports exodus continues — Big Ten football is back.
  3. Health: U.S. hits highest daily COVID-19 case count since pandemic began —AstraZeneca to resume vaccine trial in U.S.How to help save 130,000 lives.
  4. Retail: Santa won't greet kids at Macy's this year.
  5. World: Spain and France exceed 1 million cases.