Alex Brandon / AP

House Republican leaders are worried that a concession in the developing Trumpcare talks could make already anxious moderates run away from the bill. The proposal is to allow states to get rid of the "community rating" provision that prevents insurers from charging higher rates to sick people.

Why it's a problem: Most Republicans have been adamant that they're going to keep covering people with pre-existing conditions (as has President Trump). It's one of the most popular parts of Obamacare. But without the "community rating" provision, insurers could jack up the premiums for people with health problems — and make it so expensive that they lose coverage because they can't afford it anymore.

  • A leadership source who has a good read of the conference says the deal could have a negative impact on more than just Tuesday Group (moderate) votes. The source's view is that touching community rating is harmful and allows the Freedom Caucus to ultimately shift blame away from themselves for the inevitable failure of the new bill.
  • This is something we keep hearing from Republican leadership and moderates: they don't want to let the Freedom Caucus say they've been reasonable and potentially convince Trump to cast the blame on Paul Ryan and the moderates.
  • The Democratic attack ads on pre-existing conditions write themselves: "If people can't afford their coverage, they're not covered," per a House Democratic leadership aide.
  • But conservatives have been targeting the provision a long time, because they're convinced it's one of the reasons individual health insurance has gotten so expensive.
  • For the Freedom Caucus / outside group perspective, here's an influential conservative leader: "Conservatives were right that regulations were linchpin of deal — Heritage Action and Freedom Caucus been pushing this since day one. Moderates should embrace it as federalism even if they like some of the regulations that get rolled back... This is very very far from full repeal, which means conservatives have given up A LOT, and the text of the White House needs to be legit to make it worth it."

Go deeper

21 mins ago - Technology

Congress' next moves to rein in Big Tech

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

After grilling the CEOs of Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple last week, members of Congress are grappling with whether to accuse any of the firms of illegal anticompetitive behavior, to propose updating federal antitrust laws — or both.

The big picture: Congress is just one arm of government making the case against these companies. Google is expected to be the first of the firms to face possible antitrust litigation from the Justice Department before summer's end, but all four face a full-court press of investigations by DOJ, the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general.

Fauci: Coronavirus task force to examine aerosolized spread


A sneeze. Photo: Maartje van Caspel/Getty Images

The White House coronavirus task force will examine more closely just how much SARS-CoV-2 might be transmitted via aerosols, and not just from droplets, NIAID director Anthony Fauci said Wednesday at an online forum sponsored by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Why it matters: The longer the coronavirus can remain infectious in the air, the more likely it can infect people, particularly indoors — leading to the possible need to alter air filtration and circulation within buildings.

The next wave to hit Main Street

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Call it the great retail wash. A wave of defaults, bankruptcies and evictions expected in cities across the U.S. is poised to remake the retail landscape across the country, but there may be some upside for consumers and small businesses.

Why it matters: Rather than an overnight descent into a collection of urban wastelands full of Starbucks, Amazon fulfillment centers, Chase bank branches and nothing else, the coronavirus pandemic and resulting retail apocalypse may just mean that, in major U.S. cities, less is more.