Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

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 Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

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

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

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

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!

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (Photo: Stephen Lam/Getty Images)

As blue states roll out ambitious plans to expand public health care coverage, they’ll have to walk a fine line to keep the health care industry — with its lobbying and advocacy muscle — on board.

The big picture: Industry groups like doctors and hospitals generally support efforts to cover the uninsured, even through public plans that aren’t very lucrative. But once policymakers start trying to use those programs to cut prices throughout the health care system, industry can become a powerful enemy.

Where it stands: Several blue states are considering new policy options.

  • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Democrats in the Colorado legislature have proposed new public insurance plans.
  • A handful of other states, led by New Mexico, are exploring ways to let people buy into Medicaid if they’re not poor enough to qualify for the program but also can’t afford coverage on their own.

Between the lines: Public insurance programs like Medicare and Medicaid generally pay doctors and hospitals less than private insurance does. Providers can live with those rates when the alternative is a patient going uninsured, and the provider not getting paid at all.

  • “I don’t anticipate major, highly visible opposition to straight-up public plan expansions for populations currently not covered or underinsured,” said Chris Jennings, a Democratic health care consultant.
  • Industry's "desire is to navigate to something that enables the market to operate side by side with government subsidies. There’s a level of comfort around that," health care consultant Dan Mendelson said.

The other side: In the past, Democrats have viewed public insurance options as a competitive force — a way to build market clout and drive prices down across the board.

  • That’s why the health care industry helped to kill a public option in the Affordable Care Act. Industry opposition also defeated cost-control measures in California last year. And it could do the same to Democrats’ new plans if they attempt any real cost control.
  • “I’d expect substantial health industry pushback to the idea of expanding publicly-sponsored insurance. The industry will see it as threatening, and the camel’s nose under the tent,” the Kaiser Family Foundation's Larry Levitt said.

Yes, but: Cutting costs is politically difficult, but polls show it’s voters’ top health care priority — above expanding coverage.

  • “I think we’ll be able to evaluate how much of a cost containment caucus there really is, either at the state or federal level," Jennings said.

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - World

Mexican President López Obrador tests positive for coronavirus

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during a press conference at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday. Photo: Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Sunday evening that he's tested positive for COVID-19.

Driving the news: López Obrador tweeted that he has mild symptoms and is receiving medical treatment. "As always, I am optimistic," he added. "We will all move forward."

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor of Arkansas

Sarah Huckabee Sanders at FOX News' studios in New York City in 2019. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will announce Monday that she's running for governor of Arkansas.

The big picture: Sanders was touted as a contender after it was announced she was leaving the Trump administration in June 2019. Then-President Trump tweeted he hoped she would run for governor, adding "she would be fantastic." Sanders is "seen as leader in the polls" in the Republican state, notes the Washington Post's Josh Dawsey, who first reported the news.

Coronavirus has inflamed global inequality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

History will likely remember the pandemic as the "first time since records began that inequality rose in virtually every country on earth at the same time." That's the verdict from Oxfam's inequality report covering the year 2020 — a terrible year that hit the poorest, hardest across the planet.

Why it matters: The world's poorest were already in a race against time, facing down an existential risk in the form of global climate change. The coronavirus pandemic could set global poverty reduction back as much as a full decade, according to the World Bank.