Jan 30, 2017

Here's how the House might cover pre-existing conditions

AP file photo

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is probably going to take the continuous-coverage approach, which means people with pre-existing conditions will be covered as long as they have kept themselves insured. Here's the discussion draft of their bill, which the committee will talk about at a hearing Thursday. It has all of the language about requiring the coverage from insurers, but the continuous-coverage language hasn't been written yet.

Committee aides tell me that part is likely to be introduced by Rep. Susan Brooks, but the details — like how long a person would have to stay insured — are still being worked out. Their goal is to find the right incentives for people to stay insured, and to mirror employer-based coverage as closely as possible. Also still being discussed: whether to prevent insurers from charging more to people with pre-existing conditions, not just require insurers to cover them.

Other bills the committee will talk about on Thursday:

  • Letting insurers vary premiums by age at a 5 to 1 margin, rather than 3 to 1 under Obamacare.
  • Verifying that people who sign up outside of open enrollment are eligible to do it.
  • Setting the grace periods for paying premiums to match state laws.

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Some Trump aides eye May 1 start to reopening

President Trump was flanked at yesterday's briefing by HHS Secretary Alex Azar (far left), Vice President Pence and Dr. Deborah Birx. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump's aides, encouraged by virus data showing fewer deaths than once projected, are working behind the scenes to deliver on his vow to reopen America "sooner rather than later."

  • "We are looking at when the data will allow the opportunity to reopen," said a senior White House official.

What to watch for: The official said there’s a lot of internal energy pushing for May 1, because that's the end of the White House's "30 days to slow the spread."

U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll surpasses 14,800

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 2,000 people for the second day in a row, and it's infected over 432,000 others, per Johns Hopkins data.

Where it stands: More than 14,800 people have died of COVID-19 in the U.S. — including over 4,500 in New York. The state's death toll surged to its highest one-day total on Wednesday — beating the previous day's record. 779 people died in New York in 24 hours. N.Y. has reported more cases than the most-affected countries in Europe.

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World coronavirus updates: U.K. PM "stable, improving" in intensive care

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is "stable, improving, sat up and engaged with medical staff" in the intensive care unit of London's St. Thomas' Hospital, where he is being treated for the coronavirus, Culture Minister Oliver Dowden told the BBC Thursday.

Zoom in: The update comes as ministers meet to discuss whether to extend the United Kingdom's lockdown and after the country's health officials reported Wednesday the highest daily rise in COVID-19 deaths — 938, taking the total to over 7,300. London Mayor Sadiq Khan said Wednesday the U.K. is "nowhere near lifting the lockdown," with the virus not expected to peak there until next week.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health