Get the latest market trends in your inbox

Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with the Axios Markets newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

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

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

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

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.

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica}

Go deeper

Trump pressures Barr to release so-called Durham report

Bill Barr. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump and his allies are piling extreme pressure on Attorney General Bill Barr to release a report that Trump believes could hurt perceived Obama-era enemies — and view Barr's designation of John Durham as special counsel as a stall tactic, sources familiar with the conversations tell Axios.

Why it matters: Speculation over Barr's fate grew on Tuesday, with just 49 days remaining in Trump's presidency, after Barr gave an interview to the Associated Press in which he said the Justice Department has not uncovered evidence of widespread fraud that could change the election's outcome.

CDC to cut guidance on quarantine period for coronavirus exposure

A health care worker oversees cars as people arrive to get tested for coronavirus at a testing site in Arlington, Virginia, on Tuesday. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

The CDC will soon shorten its guidance for quarantine periods following exposure to COVID-19, AP reported Tuesday and Axios can confirm.

Why it matters: Quarantine helps prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which can occur before a person knows they're sick or if they're infected without feeling any symptoms. The current recommended period to stay home if exposed to the virus is 14 days. The CDC plans to amend this to 10 days or seven with a negative test, an official told Axios.

  • The CDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
4 hours ago - Health

CDC panel: COVID vaccines should go to health workers, long-term care residents first

Hospital staff work in the COVID-19 intensive care unit in Houston. Photo: Go Nakamura via Getty

Health-care workers and nursing home residents should be at the front of the line to get coronavirus vaccines in the United States once they’re cleared and available for public use, an independent CDC panel recommended in a 13-1 emergency vote on Tuesday, per CNBC.

Why it matters: Recent developments in COVID-19 vaccines have accelerated the timeline for distribution as vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna undergo the federal approval process. States are preparing to begin distributing as soon as two weeks from now.