Oct 18, 2017

Both Democrats and Republicans say Trump forced health care deal

Sens. Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray reached a health care deal Tuesday. Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP

Senate Republicans and Democrats both agree President Trump's decision to end the Affordable Care Act cost-sharing reduction subsidies gave a heightened sense of urgency to bipartisan negotiations to stabilize the individual market, resulting in the deal announced yesterday. But each side says the president's decision left them better off, and that they ended up with the better deal.

Be smart: The deal Sens. Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray reached includes policies many experts from across the ideological spectrum say will effectively help stabilize the marketplaces. If both sides can claim victory and thus successfully pass the bill, then millions of people could be better off.

"I think both sides are motivated to get something that keeps the market stable," Sen. John Thune told me. "The one thing that the president deciding to do that, did, is forced them to come to the table."

Alexander and Murray began their bipartisan negotiations after the GOP repeal and replace effort fell apart over the summer. But until Tuesday — less than a week after Trump made his decision on the CSR payments — the two sides had been unable to reach an agreement.

  • State waiver flexibility was a key sticking point. Republicans wanted the waiver flexibility to be meaningful, while Democrats were concerned about changing consumer protection "guardrails" currently in place.
  • Democrats had also been pushing for ACA enrollment funding after the administration slashed it, as well as funding to help states start reinsurance programs.
  • Without these other issues settled — especially the waivers, which were key to GOP support — it didn't matter that both sides generally agreed on funding the CSR payments for two years.

How it's playing:

  • "When the president precipitously pulled out cost-sharing, many of our Republican colleagues said, 'Oh no, we don't want the consequences of this on our doorstep.' And it pushed them, I think, closer to a deal with us," Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters. "Frankly, after the president did what he did, the negotiations got better for us." A Democratic leadership aide said Republicans agreed to include $106 million in enrollment outreach funding only after Trump's CSR announcement.A senior GOP aide countered that while a specific number hadn't been agreed to, there had already been an agreement in principle to include funding.
  • By ending the CSR payments and issuing a health care executive order last week, Trump "showed Dems that they needed to cut a deal with Lamar," the senior GOP aide said. "Dems finally gave meaningful flexibility only after CSR payments ended."
  • Alexander said while he's not sure what impact the decision to end CSR payments had, "what made a difference was his calls to me and his public statements" in support of the deal.

Yes, but: Not everyone is singing the deal's praises. Some conservatives aren't happy with it at all, which is consistent with their dislike of what they consider "insurer bailouts." "Alexander got zilch," said a conservative Senate aide.

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1 a.m. ET: 664,695 — Total deaths: 30,847 — Total recoveries: 140,156.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 1 a.m. ET: 124,464 — Total deaths: 2,191 — Total recoveries: 1,095.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump announces new travel advisories for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, but rules out quarantine enforcement. Per the CDC, residents of those states must now "refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days," with the exception of critical infrastructure industry workers.
  4. State updates: Alaska is latest state to issue a stay-at-home order — New York is trying to nearly triple its hospital capacity in less than a month and has moved its presidential primary to June 23. Some Midwestern swing voters who backed Trump's handling of the virus less than two weeks ago are balking at his call for the U.S. to be "opened up" by Easter.
  5. World updates: In Spain, over 1,400 people were confirmed dead between Thursday to Saturday.
  6. 🚀 Space updates: OneWeb filed for bankruptcy amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
  7. Hollywood: Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have returned to U.S. after being treated for coronavirus.
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Coronavirus updates: Global death toll tops 30,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 30,000 people around the world — with Italy reporting over 10,000 deaths, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: The number of deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. surpassed 2,000 on Saturday. The United States leads the world in confirmed coronavirus infections — more than 124,000 by late Saturday. The number of those recovered from the virus in the U.S. passed the 1,000-mark on Saturday evening.

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Trump rules out quarantine in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut after pushback

President Trump on the White House grounds on Saturdya. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted Saturday night that he's decided not to introduce quarantine enforcement measures fo New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut, but a "strong" travel advisory will be issued for those states. The CDC later announced domestic travel restrictions for the states.

Why it matters: Trump said hours earlier he was considering quarantine measures to combat the rise in novel coronavirus cases. But he received pushback, notably from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who told CNN such a measure would cause "chaos." "This would be a federal declaration of war on states," Cuomo added.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 5 hours ago - Health