Sep 8, 2017

Hatch: "Obamacare bailout" would be "short-sighted"

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals

Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch blasted "Obamacare bailouts." Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch blasted an "Obamacare bailout" today in a Washington Post op-ed, an obvious reference to the HELP Committee's efforts to fund the Affordable Care Act's cost-sharing subsidies. These subsidies help insurers reduce out-of-pocket costs for their low-income customers — and if they disappear, premiums are expected to rise in 2018.

"Setting aside the valid question of whether pumping more money into an already failing system would have a significant impact on already skyrocketing premiums under Obamacare, a no-strings bailout would be extremely short-sighted," Hatch wrote, saying it would set up a reoccurring cliff every time the funding expires, which Democrats could use to extract political victories.

What Hatch does want: "Any agreement to, for example, maintain Obamacare's cost-sharing subsidies or payments to insurance companies should also include reforms such as relief for American families and job creators from the onerous mandates and taxes," he wrote.

Why this matters: Hatch just gave Republicans plenty of political cover to oppose the HELP Committee effort if they don't think they get enough out of it. HELP Chairman Lamar Alexander is hoping to win more state flexibility, as well as the expansion of more bare-bones, low-cost insurance plans, in exchange for the subsidy funding. It's unclear whether this will be enough for the GOP to claim such a package as a victory.

Go deeper

Exclusive: Washington Post makes major move into local news

People entering the Washington Post building in D.C. in 2019. Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

The Washington Post has signed all 30 of McClatchy's local news outlets to its Zeus Performance product, a software that gives sites better speed, ad view-ability and performance, executives tell Axios.

Why it matters: By adding more local news outlets, The Post can start to build a local news ecosystem within its tech stack.

Biden: George Floyd's last words are "a wake-up call for our nation"

Former Vice President Joe Biden meets with clergy members and community activists during a visit to Bethel AME Church in Wilmington, Del. on June 1, 2020. Photo: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden will call George Floyd’s dying words “a wake-up call for our nation,” and criticize President Trump’s decision to unleash tear gas on peaceful protesters outside the White House, in a civil rights speech from Philadelphia on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Biden in the address will seek to draw a sharp contrast between himself and Trump, whose first remarks addressing nationwide unrest Monday highlighted law and order, extreme demonstrations of militarized “strength” and other blustery threats.

The alarm over climate financial risk gets louder because of coronavirus

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The COVID-19 pandemic underscores why market regulators, companies and investors should do a better job planning for climate risks to the financial system, a pair of reports finds.

Driving the news: The International Monetary Fund said projected increases in the frequency and severity of natural disasters are a potential threat that investors probably aren't weighing enough.