HHS Secretary Alex Azar. Photo: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

Employers will soon be allowed to use pre-tax dollars to subsidize their employees' individual market coverage, the Trump administration announced Thursday.

What it means: This policy is probably good for employers and bad for taxpayers, according to a Brookings analysis of an earlier draft of the proposal.

  • The policy doesn't ban employers from offloading their sickest workers, though it tries to limit that practice.
  • If businesses do shift the workers with the highest medical bills away from the company-sponsored health plan, that plan's premiums would go down. But the influx of sicker patients into the individual market would drive those premiums up.

The other side: The administration, on the other hand, argues that the rule will enhance competition in the individual market.

The bottom line: The rule also allows employers to contribute to their employees' purchase of short-term plans. These plans appeal to younger, healthier people, which means that older, sicker workers could end up paying higher premiums, according to Brookings.

Go deeper: Not everyone likes their employer health coverage

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Jeff Sessions loses Alabama Senate primary runoff

Jeff Sessions. Photo: Michael DeMocker/Getty Images

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions has lost the Republican nomination for Senate to Tommy Tuberville in Alabama in Tuesday night’s primary runoff, AP reports.

Why it matters: Sessions had been the underdog in the race against former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville, who had the backing of President Trump. Tuberville will now face off against Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) in November, who is considered to have one of the most vulnerable Democratic Senate seats in the country.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 13,273,537 — Total deaths: 577,006 — Total recoveries — 7,367,106Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 3,424,304 — Total deaths: 136,432 — Total recoveries: 1,049,098 — Total tested: 41,764,557Map.
  3. Politics: Biden welcomes Trump wearing mask in public but warns "it’s not enough"
  4. Public health: Four former CDC heads say Trump's undermining of agency puts lives at risk — CDC director: U.S. could get coronavirus "under control" in 4–8 weeks if all wear masks.

Bank CEOs brace for worsening economic scenario

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon. Photo: J. Lawler Duggan/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

Wells Fargo swung to its first loss since the financial crisis — while JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup reported significantly lower profits from a year earlier — as the banks set aside billions of dollars more in the second quarter for loans that may go bad.

Why it matters: The cumulative $28 billion in loan loss provisions that banks have so far announced they’re reserving serves as a signal they’re preparing for a colossal wave of loan defaults as the economy slogs through a coronavirus-driven downturn.