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J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Sen. Lindsey Graham is out with a new approach to replacing the Affordable Care Act: Turn the money over to the states and let them handle it. He's pitching it as a backup plan that could appeal to Republicans who want to see the ACA replaced and Democrats who just want to see it repaired — because states could decide which route to take.

The main points of his proposal, which he worked on with Sen. Bill Cassidy:

  • All federal spending on ACA health insurance — $110 billion in 2016 — would be turned over to the states.
  • Insurers would still have to cover pre-existing conditions.
  • Most of the ACA taxes, except the one on medical devices, would stay in place.

Why it matters: It's less about whether Graham's proposal gains traction, and more about the fact that he's one more example of Senate Republicans veering off in different directions. Graham is trying to position his plan to get a closer look if the main Senate health care bill fails.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
17 mins ago - Technology

Tech's race problem is all about power

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

As problematic as the tech industry's diversity statistics are, activists say the focus on those numbers overlooks a more fundamental problem — one less about numbers than about power.

What they're saying: In tech, they argue, decision-making power remains largely concentrated in the hands of white men. The result is an industry whose products and working conditions belie the industry rhetoric about changing the world for the better.

Mayors fear long-lasting effects of COVID-19

Data: Menino Survey of Mayors; Chart: Axios Visuals

U.S. mayors tend to be an optimistic bunch, but a poll released Thursday finds them unusually pessimistic about prospects for post-pandemic recovery.

Why it matters: In a survey of mayors of 130 U.S. cities with more than 75,000 residents, 80% expect racial health disparities to widen, and an alarming number predict that schools, transit systems and small businesses will continue to suffer through 2021 and beyond.

Coronavirus hospitalizations top 100,000 for the first time

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking ProjectHarvard Global Health Institute; Cartogram: Danielle Alberti and Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

More than 100,000 Americans are now in the hospital with coronavirus infections — a new record, an indication that the pandemic is continuing to get worse and a reminder that the virus is still very dangerous.

Why it matters: Hospitalizations are a way to measure severe illnesses — and severe illnesses are on the rise across the U.S. In some areas, health systems and health care workers are already overwhelmed, and outbreaks are only getting worse.