Jan 16, 2017

Between the lines: Trump's "insurance for everybody"

Evan Vucci / AP

Trump shook up the health care world Sunday when he told the Washington Post his Obamacare replacement plan will aim for "insurance for everybody."

But how seriously should we take that promise? Here's what to watch next:

  • Is he really aiming for high coverage numbers, since even Obamacare hasn't covered everybody? Or is he just saying he'll provide access for everybody? If it's just access, that's much more in line with Republican goals — though as he has proven with his attacks on the drug companies, he doesn't always walk the straight Republican line.
  • He says the health insurance will be in "much simplified form" and "much less expensive" — which likely means more flexibility for insurance companies to provide basic coverage, without all of the benefits they have to cover under Obamacare.
  • "Much less expensive" and "lower deductibles": That's a hard act to pull off in the same plan. His team may have found a solution, but there's usually a tradeoff between the monthly premiums you pay and the deductibles you pay out of pocket. If the premiums are lower, the deductibles are usually higher.
  • He says the plan is almost finished and he's going to announce it "soon" — but he also says he wants to wait until Tom Price is confirmed as Health and Human Services secretary, which isn't going to happen soon.

About those drug prices: Trump is making it clear he's serious about having Medicare negotiate drug prices — but he hasn't said how he'll get congressional Republicans on board, since most are opposed to the idea. That's something he'll have to do before drug companies should really get nervous.

Go deeper

Biden says he's starting VP search this month

Joe Biden. Photo: Scott Olson / Staff

Joe Biden said he's spoken to Sen. Bernie Sanders and former President Barack Obama about selecting a running mate — and that he wants to build "a bench of younger, really qualified people" who can lead the nation over the course of the next four presidential cycles.

Driving the news: Biden spoke about the state of the 2020 race during a virtual fundraiser on Friday night that was opened to pooled coverage.

Trump ousting intelligence community inspector general

Michael Atkinson, inspector general of the intelligence community. Photo: Bill Clark / Getty Images

President Trump notified key lawmakers on Friday that he’s firing Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community's inspector general, who first alerted Congress last September of an "urgent" complaint from an official involving Trump's correspondence with the Ukrainian president.

Why it matters: The move, to take effect in 30 days, comes amid a broader initiative to purge the administration of officials seen as disloyal to the president.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Axios Visuals

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,097,909 — Total deaths: 59,131 — Total recoveries: 226,106Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 277,828 — Total deaths: 7,406 — Total recoveries: 9,772Map.
  3. Public health latest: The CDC is recommending Americans wear face coverings in public to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The federal government will cover the costs of COVID-19 treatment for the uninsured, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said.
  4. 2020 latest: "I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting," President Trump said of the 2020 election, as more states hold primary elections by mail. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock said Friday that every county in the state opted to expand mail-in voting for the state's June 2 primary.
  5. Business updates: America's small business bailout is off to a bad start. The DOT is urging airlines to refund passengers due to canceled or rescheduled flights, but won't take action against airlines that provide vouchers or credits.
  6. Oil latest: The amount of gas American drivers are consuming dropped to levels not seen in more than 25 years, government data shows. Trump is calling on the Energy Department to find more places to store oil.
  7. Tech updates: Twitter will allow ads containing references to the coronavirus under certain use cases.
  8. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Senators call for independent investigation into firing of Navy captain.
  9. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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