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UnitedHealth Group is excited for short-term plans. AP Photo/Jim Mone, File

UnitedHealth Group, the country's biggest insurer, said it's eager to sell the cheaper, less comprehensive health care plans at the center of President Trump's health care agenda, Bloomberg reported this morning.

Why it matters: It's no surprise that insurers would be excited to sell the kinds of policies Trump is promoting, which don't have to cover much and therefore appeal mainly to healthy customers. UnitedHealth, like several other large insurers, has already pulled back significantly from the Affordable Care Act's exchanges, where coverage must be more comprehensive.

What they're saying: According to Bloomberg, UnitedHealth executives said on a call with investors today that they're "excited" about the kinds of insurance plans Trump promoted in his recent executive order.

  • That order expanded access to short-term plans, which cover few services and aren't subject to most of the ACA's benefit mandates. Trump will let people keep that coverage for a year. President Obama had limited it to three months.
  • Experts fear those policies will pull healthy people out of the ACA's risk pool, leading to higher premiums for those who remain.
  • Trump's order also expanded access to association health plans, which are regulated like large employers' policies.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Trump blocks banks from limiting loans to gun and oil companies

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Big banks are no longer allowed to reject business loan applicants because of the industry in which they operate, according to a new rule finalized on Thursday by the Trump administration.

Why it matters: Wall Street has curtailed its exposure to industries like guns, oil and private prisons, driven by both public and shareholder pressures. This new rule could reverse that trend.

Former FDA commissioner: "Reliable drug supply is absolutely critical"

Axios' Caitlin Owens and former FDA commissioner Mark McClellan. Photo courtesy of Axios Events

Having a reliable supply of pharmaceutical drugs throughout America will be "absolutely critical" to boosting affordability in health care during the Biden administration, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Mark McClellan said at a virtual Axios Event on Friday.

The big picture: McClellan, who served under President George W. Bush, says drugs having limited supply and limited competition leads to elevated pricing. He considers drug supply to be a national security and public health issue.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Americans are still spending money

Source: Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans spent more money at stores and restaurants in 2020 than they did in 2019 — even in the face of a devastating global pandemic that shut down broad sectors of the economy.

Why it matters: The monthly retail sales report this morning came in well below expectations, and showed consumer spending falling on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Total expenditures were still higher in December 2020 than they were a year previously, however.

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