May 3, 2017

GOP holdout intros pre-existing condition amendment

Alex Brandon / AP

The House is about to give it one more try with the Republican health care bill. Rep. Fred Upton will introduce an amendment that would provide $8 billion over five years to help protect people with pre-existing conditions, an attempt to bring moderate holdouts to the table.

What the amendment does: It's a fund to pay the penalty for not being previously insured for those who get priced out from the market based on health status.

What spooked moderates: An amendment by Rep. Tom MacArthur that would allow states, in limited circumstances, to waive the Affordable Care Act's essential health benefits and ban on charging sick people higher premiums. People with pre-existing conditions could only be charged more based on health status if they had a lapse in health coverage, so these would be the people helped by Upton's amendment.

President Trump, VP Pence and Paul Ryan teamed up to call undecided House members yesterday, lobbying them to support the revised bill. A staff member for a wavering member told Axios his boss had heard from all three of them.

Early Wednesday morning, well-placed sources in the White House and in the House Republican conference told us the momentum was driving towards a vote on Thursday. The White House has been more bullish all along, and senior House sources have been consistently exasperated at administration officials setting artificial deadlines.

Senior House lawmakers remain concerned about the potential for the new, more moderate, language to unnerve the ultra conservative House Freedom Caucus members. Members like Jim Jordan were reluctant to sign onto the original MacArthur amendment, and could easily be lost.

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Special report: War, fever and baseball in 1918

A baseball player wearing a mask in 1918. Photo: George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty Images

In January 1918, the horrors of World War I were in their final year, and Major League Baseball was preparing for its 16th season. But beneath the surface, another deadly battle was brewing. They called it the "Spanish flu."

The state of play: Over the next 15 months, the global pandemic infected an estimated 500 million people — about a quarter of the world's population at the time — and killed as many as 100 million.

Peter Navarro defends hydroxychloroquine use in heated CNN interview

White House economic adviser Peter Navarro defended the use of anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus during a CNN interview Monday, highlighting "the possibility" that it has therapeutic efficacy.

Why it matters: Navarro did not deny reporting from Axios' Jonathan Swan that he got into a heated exchange in the White House Situation Room over the weekend with infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci about the drug's prospects against the illness.