Feb 17, 2017

Backlash builds over Verma comments on maternity health benefits

AP file photo

Seema Verma, President Trump's nominee to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, has triggered a big lobbying backlash with her suggestion in her Senate testimony yesterday that maternity health coverage should be optional. The March of Dimes is circulating an online petition denouncing the comments, saying: "ALL families should be able to have a healthy baby without planning a year or more in advance."

Why it's an issue: Maternity coverage is one of the required categories of health benefits under Obamacare, and Republicans are looking for ways to relax those rules to bring down the cost of health insurance. Verma told the Senate Finance Committee that while some women want maternity coverage, "some women might not choose that."

Why it matters: It's a sign of how much lobbying will take place to keep Obamacare's required benefits in place, pushing back against customers who have complained that they don't want all of the coverage the law requires.

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 5,543,439 — Total deaths: 347,836 — Total recoveries — 2,266,394Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 1,669,040 — Total deaths: 98,426 — Total recoveries: 379,157 — Total tested: 14,604,942Map.
  3. Trump administration: Mike Pence's press secretary returns to work after beating coronavirus.
  4. States: New York reports lowest number of new coronavirus deaths since March.
  5. Public health: The final data for remdesivir is in and its benefits are rather limited.
  6. Education: A closer look at how colleges can reopenNotre Dame president says science alone "cannot provide the answer" to reopening.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Pentagon watchdog sidelined by Trump resigns

Fine testiying before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2017. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Glenn Fine, the Pentagon's principal deputy inspector general, submitted his resignation on Tuesday.

Why it matters: President Trump removed Fine as the Pentagon's acting inspector general in April 7 after a group of independent federal watchdogs selected him to lead the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, which was set up to oversee the rollout of the $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill.

New York reports lowest number of daily coronavirus deaths since March

The number of daily new coronavirus cases and deaths reported in New York was the lowest since the state started its lockdown in March, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday, calling Memorial Day a "pivot point" for New York.

By the numbers: 73 New Yorkers died from coronavirus in the past 24 hours, and 200 people tested positive. Hospitalizations and intubations also decreased.