Mar 26, 2019

Trump administration's ACA stance plays into Democrats' hands

Photo: Sha Hanting/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images

Even before news broke Monday night that the Justice Department wants the courts to strike down the entire Affordable Care Act, a press conference to introduce a package of bills that would incrementally expand on the Affordable Care Act was already on House Democrats' Tuesday agenda.

My thought bubble: One press conference on one day is no big deal, but we've already watched Democrats build a narrative and a campaign message around health care — including this exact lawsuit. There's no reason to believe they can't do it again, especially with even more on the line in court.

Details: Democrats' bills would expand the ACA's subsidies for both premiums and out-of-pocket costs.

  • The package also would effectively nullify Trump's expansion of bare-bones "short-term" insurance plans, per the New York Times; provide money to promote enrollment; and encourage states to set up reinsurance programs, which help reduce premiums.

Between the lines: These are pretty safe, standard Democratic ideas that would be a lot less newsworthy without the stark contrast Trump's Justice Department is providing.

  • The internal Democratic debate between "Medicare for All" and "Defend the ACA" won't go away, because the presidential primary is still going on. But to the extent it's an active fissure among House Democrats, Trump's latest move at least can't hurt Pelosi's effort to keep her caucus on the same page.

Go deeper ... Exclusive poll: Public fears lawsuit over pre-existing conditions

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Trump administration asks Congress for $2.5 billion to fight coronavirus

President Trump with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar at the White House in September. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Trump administration sent a letter to Congress Monday requesting a funding commitment of at least $2.5 billion to help combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Details: The request for a lump sum account for the Department of Health and Human Services includes $1.25 billion in new funds to fight COVID-19 and $535 would come from untouched funds for the Ebola virus.

WHO won't call coronavirus a pandemic as cases spread

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The World Health Organization will not yet call the coronavirus a pandemic, claiming that needs across affected countries are too varied and the classification would increase fear, per a briefing Monday.

The big picture: As South Korea and Italy stepped up emergency measures in efforts to thwart the spread of the virus, WHO expressed concern about infections with no clear link to China. COVID-19 has killed at least 2,620 people and infected almost 80,000 others, with all but 27 deaths occurring in mainland China.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 4 hours ago - Health

The global scramble to contain the coronavirus

Taking precaution, in the Philippines. Photo: Ezra Acayan/Getty Images

The coronavirus is spreading quickly in cities nowhere near Wuhan, China, and the window to prevent a global pandemic is narrowing.

Zoom in: Here's a look at what comes with a coronavirus outbreak in communities outside China that have been hardest hit so far.

Go deeperArrow4 hours ago - World