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Some Republicans want to repeal the individual mandate in their tax overhaul. Photo: Evan Vucci/AP

President Trump has prepared an executive order weakening the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate but is holding off in case Republicans want to repeal that mandate in their tax overhaul, an unnamed Republican senator told the Washington Examiner.

Between the lines: A handful of Republican senators have an obvious incentive to create a sense of urgency around repealing the individual mandate. And the threat here seems to be that if Congress doesn't use those savings soon, Trump could, in effect, steal them.

Threat level: There's no direct conflict between these two actions: Trump signing an executive order weakening the mandate would not make it any harder for Congress to fully repeal the policy.

  • Some conservatives want to repeal the individual mandate in the GOP's tax bill, in part, because it would save some $380 billion over a decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office. That would go a long way toward helping to pay for new tax cuts.
  • Industry officials and policy analysts have expected to see an executive order on the individual mandate for a while now.
  • Trump could substantially weaken the policy through executive actions — largely by broadening exemptions and weakening enforcement — but he couldn't get rid of it entirely.

So, what bearing would the threat of an executive order have on congressional Republicans' decisions about whether to repeal the mandate?

  • It's all about CBO. If Trump substantially weakens the mandate, and if CBO builds those changes into its assumptions about how the individual mandate works, then a bill to fully repeal the mandate might not save as much money, and the tax overhaul would be harder to pay for.
  • That's a lot of ifs. It's not clear how much Trump could do on his own, at least without sparking legal challenges, to weaken the mandate. It's also not clear how CBO would respond.

Be smart: Attaching a repeal of the individual mandate to the tax overhaul would make that bill much harder to pass. It should be clear by now that Republicans are not on the same page when it comes to health care, and repealing the individual mandate would wreak havoc on insurance markets.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Reddit traders are taking on Wall Street pros at their own game with this basic mantra: Stocks will always go up.

Why it matters: Their trades — egged on in Reddit threads — have played a role in historic market activity in recent days.

The week the Trump show ended

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Donald Trump was eclipsed in media attention last week by President Biden for the first time since Trump took office, according to viewership data on the internet, on social media and on cable news.

Why it matters: After Trump crowded out nearly every other news figure and topic for five years, momentum of the new administration took hold last week and the former president retreated, partly by choice and partly by being forced off the big platforms.

Pay TV's bleak post-pandemic outlook

Data: eMarketer; Chart: Axios Visuals

The pandemic has taken a huge toll on the Pay-TV industry, and with the near-term future of live sports in question, there are no signs of it getting better in 2021.

Why it matters: The fraught Pay-TV landscape is forcing some smaller, niche cable channels out of business altogether.