Evan Vucci / AP

House Speaker Paul Ryan said yesterday that the Trump administration could use its "discretion" to keep paying insurers for those cost-sharing reduction subsidies they have to give to low-income Obamacare customers. So, yay, problem solved, right?

Not really. Insurers really want to hear that directly from the Trump administration, and they haven't. Until they do, they're not making any decisions about staying in the Obamacare marketplaces next year. And Health and Human Services secretary Tom Price wouldn't answer questions about this at Wednesday's HHS budget hearing. He said he couldn't because he's a party to the House GOP lawsuit challenging the subsidies — which Ryan said the House isn't dropping.

Here's what insurance officials told me:

  • Margaret Murray, CEO of the Association for Community Affiliated Plans, which represents safety-net health plans: "We need a clear, unambiguous statement from Congress and the administration that they're going to fund the payments, and we have not received that."
  • Ceci Connolly, CEO of the Alliance of Community Health Plans, which represents not-for-profit insurers that are run by providers: "Speaker Ryan's comments are encouraging but not clear enough for companies to make solid business decisions. If the House maintains its lawsuit and the Trump administration drops the appeal, millions of working families will lose these vital subsidies."

Why it's so hard to solve: Re-upping Caitlin's piece about how Republicans got themselves into this mess, but you should also read Nicholas Bagley's plain-English explanation of why the House and the Trump administration can't just let the whole thing drop, even if they wanted to.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. EST: 32,135,220 — Total deaths: 981,660 — Total recoveries: 22,149,441Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m EST: 6,975,980 — Total deaths: 202,738 — Total recoveries: 2,710,183 — Total tests: 98,481,026Map.
  3. Politics: House Democrats prepare new $2.4 trillion coronavirus relief package.
  4. Health: Cases are surging again in 22 states — New York will conduct its own review of coronavirus vaccine.
  5. Business: America is closing out its strongest quarter of economic growth.
  6. Technology: 2020 tech solutions may be sapping our resolve to beat the pandemic.
  7. Sports: Pac-12 will play this fall despite ongoing pandemic — Here's what college basketball will look like this season.
  8. Science: Global coronavirus vaccine initiative launches without U.S. or China — During COVID-19 shutdown, a common sparrow changed its song.
5 hours ago - Sports

Pac-12 will play football this fall, reversing course

A view of Levi's Stadium during the 2019 Pac-12 Championship football game. Photo: Alika Jenner/Getty Images

The Pac-12, which includes universities in Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, Utah and Washington state, will play football starting Nov. 6, reversing its earlier decision to postpone the season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: The conference's about-face follows a similar move by the Big Ten last week and comes as President Trump has publicly pressured sports to resume despite the ongoing pandemic. The Pac-12 will play a seven-game conference football season, according to ESPN.

Dave Lawler, author of World
6 hours ago - World

Global coronavirus vaccine initiative launches without U.S. or China

Data: Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance; Map: Naema Ahmed/Axios

A global initiative to ensure equitable distribution of coronavirus vaccines now includes most of the world — but not the U.S., China or Russia.

Why it matters: Assuming one or more vaccines ultimately gain approval, there will be a period of months or even years in which supply lags far behind global demand. The COVAX initiative is an attempt to ensure doses go where they're most needed, rather than simply to countries that can produce or buy them at scale.

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