Kevin Counihan is the former chief of Photo: Brooks Kraft/Getty Images

Kevin Counihan, a former Obama administration official who oversaw the marketplace and now is an executive at health insurer Centene, told Wall Street investors during Centene's first-quarter earnings call that the Affordable Care Act's requirement to purchase health insurance wasn't really effective.

"When I was at [the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services], I never really thought the individual mandate was all that powerful, and I'll tell you why. Because number one, the dollar value for the penalty was not that significant, particularly compared to premium. And number two is, there were so many opportunities for people to appeal."
— Kevin Counihan, senior vice president at Centene and former CEO of

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Case growth outpacing testing in coronavirus hotspots

Data: The COVID Tracking Project. Note: Vermont and Hawaii were not included because they have fewer than 20 cases per day. Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The United States' alarming rise in coronavirus cases isn't due to increased testing — particularly not where cases have grown fastest over the last month.

Why it matters: The U.S. doesn't yet know what it looks like when a pandemic rages on relatively unchecked after the health system has become overwhelmed. It may be about to find out.

The impending retail apocalypse

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Because of the coronavirus and people's buying habits moving online, retail stores are closing everywhere — often for good.

Why it matters: Malls are going belly up. Familiar names like J.C. Penney, Neiman Marcus and J. Crew have filed for bankruptcy. Increasingly, Americans' shopping choices will boil down to a handful of internet Everything Stores and survival-of-the-fittest national chains.

Biden campaign using Instagram to mobilize celebrity supporters

Collins appears on the Build live interview series in November 2019. Photo: Gary Gershoff/Getty Images

The Biden campaign is launching a new initiative today that will draft Hollywood celebrities for Instagram Live chats with campaign officials and other Biden supporters.

Why it matters: The campaign, called #TeamJoeTalks, is an attempt to open up a new front on social media, drawing on celebrities’ Instagram followers to help find and motivate voters while large parts of the country remain locked down.