J. Scott Applewhite / AP

White House officials and top Republicans have been trading new ideas over the recess to get Obamacare repeal back on track — and one of the latest ideas is to allow more market competition between health plans that follow Obamacare's rules and plans that don't, according to sources familiar with the talks.

They're also trying to narrow the language of the proposal to let states opt out of some of the law's insurance regulations. That's a concession to moderates who don't want to undermine Obamacare's protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

What it means: The goal is to get enough Republicans on board so the House can vote on the bill in two weeks, right after the recess ends. The latest talks show all sides are serious about trying, and they're testing all kinds of ideas to break the stalemate, but there's no sign that they've found the breakthrough yet.

Who's talking: Officials from Vice President Mike Pence's office, other White House aides, staffers from House Speaker Paul Ryan's office, and Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows.

What they're talking about: The new idea is to let insurers sell health plans that don't have all of Obamacare's requirements — like the 10 categories of benefits, the minimum coverage amounts, and the limits on cost-sharing — as long as they also sell "qualified health plans" that follow all of Obamacare's rules. That way, consumers would have more options, including cheaper plans.

Between the lines: It's not clear how seriously the new idea has been vetted, we're told, especially with insurers. The usual objection to such head-to-head competition is that all of the healthy people would flock to the skimpier plans, so the only ones who would want the more expensive Obamacare plans would be the sick people.

Go deeper

Updated 23 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: The swing states where the pandemic is raging. Ex-FDA chief: Pence campaigning after COVID exposure puts others at risk — Mark Meadows: "We are not going to control the pandemic"
  2. Health: 13 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week — U.S. reports over 80,000 new cases for second consecutive day.
  3. Education: The dangerous instability of school re-openings.
  4. World: Australian city to exit one of world's longest lockdowns — In photos: Coronavirus restrictions grow across Europe
  5. Media: Fox News president and several hosts advised to quarantine after possible COVID-19 exposure
  6. Nonprofit: Rockefeller Foundation commits $1 billion for COVID-19 recovery
Erica Pandey, author of @Work
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

The dangerous instability of school re-openings

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Schools across the country have flip-flopped between in-person and remote learning — and that instability is taking a toll on students' ability to learn and their mental health.

The big picture: While companies were able to set long timelines for their return, schools — under immense political and social strain — had to rush to figure out how to reopen. The cobbled-together approach has hurt students, parents and teachers alike.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Trump doesn't have a second-term economic plan

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump has not laid out an economic agenda for his second term, despite the election being just eight days away.

Why it matters: This is unprecedented in modern presidential campaigns, and makes it harder for undecided voters to make an informed choice.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!