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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Most people don't have nearly as much choice over their health insurance plans as Republicans and moderate Democrats sometimes suggest.

Between the lines: People who get their insurance from their employer — the majority of people with private insurance — are often given few plans to choose from, if they're given any choice at all.

What they're saying: This came up in former Vice President Joe Biden's interview with the New York Times' editorial board.

  • "If you like your plan, you can keep it, assuming — I should add the obvious — if your employer doesn’t take it away from you."

The comment is a nod to how much control employers have over their employees' health insurance.

  • Many workers are presented with just one plan option, meaning they don't have any choice at all. Others will have multiple plans, but all from the same insurance company.
  • Employers frequently shop around for better deals, but employees are stuck with choosing between the limited choices their employers present to them.
  • And while competition is improving in the individual market, most people who buy insurance on their own still have only a handful of insurers to choose from.

Biden has proposed a public insurance plan that would be open to people with employer-based insurance — which experts say could lead to some employers deciding not to offer their own coverage.

  • For workers who have generous employer coverage now, a public option with limited provider participation would probably be a bad deal.
  • But if most doctors and hospitals participate in the public option, workers may not end up with any fewer choices than they have now.

Between the lines: "In the current political debate, choice has mostly been about whether you can choose private insurance or a public Medicare-like plan. But, that in many ways obscures the choice that probably ultimately matters to most people, which is choice of doctor or hospital," the Kaiser Family Foundation's Larry Levitt said.

Go deeper: Employers aren't changing their health benefits

Go deeper

Biden gets mixed grades on revolving door

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Biden is getting mixed marks for his reliance on industry insiders to staff his administration during its first 100 days.

Why it matters: Progressives have leaned on the new president to limit the revolving door between industry and government. A new report from the Revolving Door Project praises him on that front but highlights key hires it deems ethically questionable.

Exclusive: Sen. Coons sees new era of bipartisanship on China

Sen. Chris Coons. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The Jan. 6 insurrection was a "shock to the system," propelling members of Congress toward the goal of shoring up America's ability to compete with China, Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) told Axios during an interview Thursday.

Why it matters: Competition between China's authoritarian model and the West's liberal democratic one is likely to define the 21st century. A bipartisan response would help the U.S. present a united front.

By the numbers: States weighing voting changes

Data: Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law; Cartogram: Michelle McGhee/Axios

Georgia is not alone in passing a law adding voting restrictions, but other states are seeing a surge in provisions and proposals that would expand access to the polls, according to data from the Brennan Center for Justice.

Driving the news: Just Wednesday, the New York State Assembly passed a bill to restore voting rights to convicted felons who have been released from prison.

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