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From our Expert Voices conversation on plans for health care reform after Trump's executive order:

One under-reported part of the order is its direction "to increase the usability of Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs), to expand employers' ability to offer HRAs to their employees, and to allow HRAs to be used in conjunction with nongroup coverage."

Prior to the ACA, HRAs were used by some employers who wanted to reimburse their employees' health care premium expenses rather than offer their own plans. However, in 2013 the Obama administration decided that standalone HRAs violated the ACA. Loosening or reversing those restrictions on using tax-preferred HRAs could fundamentally transform how employers provide health care benefits.

In a recent Mercer survey, 16% of employers said they would consider a standalone HRA for all eligible employees if there were no penalty, and 21% said they might consider it depending on the strength of the individual market. Notably, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) specifically prohibits employers from gaming the system by dumping less healthy employees onto the individual markets.

The bottom line: If done right, an HRA expansion could strengthen the individual market by adding healthy customers and expanding the risk pools, an outcome that should be cheered by Democrats and Republicans alike.

Other voices in the conversation:

  • James Capretta, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and former associate director for health programs at the OMB: Alexander-Murray deal a flawed first attempt at bipartisanship
  • John McDonough, professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and former Senate adviser on health reform: Obamacare is dead. Long live the Affordable Care Act.
  • Jeanne Lambrew, senior fellow at the Century Foundation and deputy assistant to the president for health policy in the Obama White House: Health care fix today could be undone tomorrow
  • Christopher Condeluci, principal at CC Law and Policy and former tax and benefits counsel to the Senate Finance Committee: Clearing the air on AHPs

Go deeper

Biden will reverse Trump's attempt to lift COVID related travel restrictions

Photo: Tasos Katopodis via Getty

The incoming Biden administration will reverse President Trump's last-minute order to lift COVID-19 related travel restrictions, Jen Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary, tweeted.

Why it matters: President Trump ordered entry bans lifted for travelers from the U.K., Ireland, Brazil and much of Europe to go into effect Jan. 26, but the Biden administration will "strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Jen Psaki said. Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and Trump will no longer be president by the time the order is set to go into effect.

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.

Off the Rails

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.