The states that are running out of CHIP funds
Sixteen states are in danger of exhausting their federal funds by the end of January if Congress doesn’t act.
Sixteen states are in danger of running out of federal funds for the Children's Health Insurance Program by the end of January if Congress doesn't renew funding — including California, Texas and Florida. Here's an interactive look at the states and how many children could lose health care coverage. (The ones whose coverage doesn't include Medicaid funds are at the greatest risk.)
The bottom line: This could still get solved in a spending bill for the rest of the year, but it's the kind of thing Congress could have finished months ago if they had focused on it, rather than fighting over Affordable Care Act repeal. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is giving states some temporary funds, but they won't last very long.
Data: Kaiser Family Foundation, MACPAC; Chart: Chris Canipe / Axios
Sure, Congress wants to go home for the holidays. But it also has to fund the government after Dec. 22. And there are a lot of things that could go wrong.
Here's how plugged-in appropriations experts are ranking the dangers over the next two weeks:
One more thing: A larger problem, Dyer said, is "the general level of rhetorical excess" — partly driven by the White House.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios
Why are Senate Republicans scrambling to pass a hastily rewritten tax bill that most Americans don't even like? Think of it as the mirror image of what Democrats did seven years ago with the Affordable Care Act. When it's a core issue for your party — as tax cuts are to Republicans, health care was to Democrats — you'd better be able to pass it.
The bottom line: When Republicans control the White House and both chambers of Congress, it would be hard to explain why they couldn't pass a rewrite of the tax code — every bit as central to their agenda as health care was to the Democrats when they controlled the White House and Congress. The details, and the polling, are almost beside the point.
The parallels between the tax bill and the Affordable Care Act are hard to avoid:
Where they're different:
What to watch: Remember how Democrats took the blame for everything bad that happened with health care after they passed the ACA by themselves, and had trouble getting any credit for the good stuff? If Republicans rewrite the tax code by themselves, they're going to own it, too.
Open enrollment this year is only half as long as last year. Photo: AP file
Nearly 2.8 million people have signed up for Affordable Care Act coverage for next year in the first four weeks of open enrollment, according to figures released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services today. That includes roughly 718,000 new customers and nearly 2.1 million who were renewing old plans.
Yes, but: That’s a long way from the 12.2 million people who signed up for 2017 coverage. And open enrollment this year only runs through Dec. 15 — half as long as last year’s enrollment season.
The GOP may be heading for more trouble with its legislative agenda — this time with an unpopular tax bill. A compilation by Chris Warshaw of George Washington University of various polls shows that the plans to rewrite the tax code are only slightly more popular than the Affordable Care Act bills that narrowly failed — and both are among the least popular legislative proposals of the last three decades.
Reproduced from a chart by Chris Warshaw, assistant professor of political science at George Washington University; Chart: Axios Visuals
Why it matters: Republicans really can't afford to give up on the tax bill, after suffering an embarrassing defeat on their health care effort. But when something is as central to their agenda as the tax rewrite, they're going to have serious headaches if they can't win more support with the public.
Senate Finance Committee chairman Orrin Hatch begins the committee’s work on the tax bill. Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP
The Wall Street Journal’s Greg Ip has a smart story about the new inflation measure that’s included in the House and Senate tax bills. Instead of the Consumer Price Index, which economists believe overstates the cost of living, it would use a measure called “chained CPI,” which may be more accurate, but also rises more slowly than the regular CPI.
Why it matters: Some people will get pushed into higher tax brackets faster than they would have under the old measure. It helps Republicans pay for the tax bill, because it’ll raise $130 billion in revenue over 10 years. But it’s also safe to say that most Americans who aren’t tax experts will have no idea of the impact until it hits them.
LePage says the legislature will have to fund the expansion first. Photo: Robert F. Bukaty / AP
Not so fast, Maine voters. Gov. Paul LePage says his administration won’t expand Medicaid until the state legislature funds it, after the state voted last night to broaden the program under the Affordable Care Act, per the Bangor Daily News.
The bottom line: It’s not surprising that LePage would pump the brakes, since he vetoed Medicaid expansion five times. But the voters overruled him last night, so even if the state doesn’t expand Medicaid now, it will eventually.
More people are surviving a cancer diagnosis today than in the 1970s, according to a report released earlier this year by government agencies and cancer groups. That's the good news facing former Vice President Joe Biden, who's speaking with Mike Allen at an Axios event in Philadelphia today, as he continues his work to speed the progress of cancer research.
But the survival rates are still low for several kinds — including brain cancers like the type that killed his son, Beau Biden.
Data: Journal of the National Cancer Institute; Chart: Chris Canipe / Axios
What's next: Immunotherapies are one promising area of cancer treatment, but there are questions about why checkpoint inhibitors (one class of immunotherapeutic drugs) work in some patients but not others. These treatments, and others known as CAR T-cell therapies that involve changing a patient's own immune cells so they will attack cancerous cells, can also cause serious side effects that researchers are racing to understand.
Dr. Elizabeth Jaffee of Johns Hopkins University, president-elect of the American Association for Cancer Research, says these are the most likely advances in immunotherapy to watch over the next few years:
Keep in mind: For breast, prostate and a handful of other cancers, increased screening and early detection may have improved survival rates while masking only minor gains in longevity. Prevention is how we've made the most headway in decreasing actual death rates from cancer — with fewer people smoking, for example — and where more progress can be made.
Paul’s injuries are more serious than first believed. Photo: Timothy D. Easley / AP
The attack on Sen. Rand Paul at his home on Friday left him with five broken ribs, and it’s not clear when he’ll be able to return to the Senate, per AP. Senior adviser Doug Stafford told AP that Paul is in a lot of pain and would have trouble flying, an account that indicates Paul's injuries were more serious than the initial reports suggested. Police have charged one of Paul’s neighbors — Rene Boucher, 59 — with misdemeanor fourth-degree assault.
The big picture: The assault on Paul follows a series of attacks and threats against other lawmakers — most notably the shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise at a congressional baseball practice this summer. The Washington Post reports that Rep. Frederica Wilson, who criticized President Trump’s phone call to the widow of a soldier killed in Niger, has been the target of threats since then.
Swedish has presided over a failed merger attempt with Cigna and a pullback from ACA markets. Photo: Jacquelyn Martin / AP
Anthem CEO Joseph Swedish is expected to step down, and former UnitedHealth Group executive Gail Boudreaux will be named to replace him, the Wall Street Journal reports. The move could be announced as early as next week.
Why it matters: His last couple of years as the head of Anthem will be remembered for two things: a failed attempt to buy Cigna and a pullback from many Affordable Care Act markets. Overall, though, he’ll leave Anthem in good shape. Its ACA enrollment for next year is expected to be way down, but it predicts increased enrollment in big businesses like Medicare, Medicaid and self-insured employer plans.