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

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Joe Biden at the March 15 Democratic presidential debate. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden said in a letter Monday to President Trump and other conservatives challenging the Affordable Care Act that the novel coronavirus outbreak shows why they should drop their legal case.

Why it matters: The 2020 candidate sent the letter on the 10th anniversary of former President Obama signing the act into law. Biden suggested the lawsuit they're supporting threatens protections the ACA provides at a time when Americans are "anxious and afraid about the impact the deadly COVID-19 pandemic is already having on their lives, their families, and their ability to pay their bills."

"At a time of national emergency, which is laying bare the existing vulnerabilities in our public health infrastructure, it is unconscionable that you are continuing to pursue a lawsuit designed to strip millions of Americans of their health insurance and protections under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including the ban on insurers denying coverage or raising premiums due to pre-existing conditions."
— Excerpt from Biden's letter

The big picture: The Supreme Court announced early this month it would hear the challenge later this year — possibly not until just before or after the 2020 presidential election in November.

  • The lawsuit argues that the entire ACA should be struck down, "including its most popular provisions, like its pre-existing conditions protections," Axios' Caitlin Owens notes.

The other side: Trump said at a Fox News town hall Scranton, Pennsylvania, this month he wants to "terminate Obamacare because it’s bad."

  • "[W]e]re running it really well, but we know it’s defective, he said, adding that Texas is "trying to terminate" the legislation and replace it with "something that's much better.  He didn't elaborate further, but he added: "And they’ve all pledged that preexisting conditions, 100% taken care of."

Read the letter:

Go deeper

House passes $1.9 trillion COVID relief package

Photo: Screenshot via C-SPAN

The House approved President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package on a 219-212 vote early Saturday morning, sending it to the Senate for a possible rewrite before it gets to Biden's desk.

The big picture: The vote was a critical first step for the package, which includes $1,400 cash payments for many Americans, a national vaccination program, ramped-up COVID testing and contact tracing, state and local funding and money to help schools reopen.

7 hours ago - Health

Biden says it's "not the time to relax" after touring vaccination site

President Biden speaking after visiting a FEMA Covid-19 vaccination facility in Houston on Feb. 26. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that "it's not the time to relax" coronavirus mitigation efforts and warned that the number of cases and hospitalizations could rise again as new variants of the virus emerge.

Why it matters: Biden, who made the remarks after touring a vaccination site in Houston, echoed CDC director Rochelle Walensky, who said earlier on Friday that while the U.S. has seen a recent drop in cases and hospitalizations, "these declines follow the highest peak we have experienced in the pandemic."

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Most COVID-19 survivors can weather risk of reinfection, study says — "Twindemic" averted as flu reports plummet amid coronavirus crisis
  2. Vaccine: FDA advisory panel endorses J&J COVID vaccine for emergency use — About 20% of U.S. adults have received first vaccine dose, White House says — New data reignites the debate over coronavirus vaccine strategy.
  3. Economy: What's really going on with the labor market.
  4. Local: All adult Minnesotans will likely be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by summer — Another wealthy Florida community receives special access to COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Sports: Poll weighs impact of athlete vaccination.