Apr 4, 2018

The driving force of health care fear

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Insurers are afraid of a deteriorating market for individual coverage, fueled by the repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate as well as regulatory changes from the Trump administration.

What to watch: Over the course of the spring, they’ll be deciding whether it makes sense to simply quit offering ACA coverage in some parts of the country. Rural areas will likely be the first to see insurers leave.

Pharma fears Washington after a couple of surprising defeats on Capitol Hill have shown the industry may not be as bulletproof as it seems.

  • What to watch: The Trump administration is eager to show progress on drug prices, and its early efforts have largely steered clear of drug companies themselves. But Health and Human Services secretary Alex Azar is open to reining in some of the industry’s patent tricks — a move that could cost drugmakers billions of dollars.

Everyone fears Amazon. Just the possibility that it might enter the pharmacy business has accelerated a trend of health care mega-mergers, as the old guard looks to lock in as much market power as it can.

And the public fears the cost of health care. That’s part of the reason the industry, which profits from those costs, is right to worry about what’s ahead.

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What we know: Deadly Storm Dennis whips at England, Wales and Ireland

Photo: OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images.

At least two deaths are being attributed to Storm Dennis on Monday as it continues to strike at parts of England, Wales and Ireland, per AccuWeather.

The big picture: Dennis is the second-strongest nontropical storm ever recorded in the North Atlantic Ocean. Its hurricane-force winds and heavy rains have caused widespread flooding across the United Kingdom. The army has been deployed in the U.K. to help with flood relief.

Coronavirus cases rise as 14 American evacuees infected

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

14 Americans evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship tested positive for the novel coronavirus before being flown in a "specialist containment" on a plane repatriating U.S. citizens back home, the U.S. government said early Monday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 1,775 people and infected more than 70,000 others. Most cases and all but five of the deaths have occurred in mainland China.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

The cost of going after Bloomberg

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Here's the growing dilemma for 2020 Democrats vying for a one-on-one showdown with frontrunner Bernie Sanders: Do they have the guts — and the money — to first stop Mike Bloomberg?

Why it matters: Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren all must weigh the costs of punching Bloomberg where he looks most vulnerable: stop-and-frisk, charges of sexism, billionaire entitlement. The more zealous the attacks, the greater the risk he turns his campaign ATM against them.