Jan 21, 2020

Trump administration plans to issue guidance on Medicaid block grants

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals

CMS Administrator Seema Verma. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

The Trump administration plans to issue guidance — potentially this month — on state waivers to change Medicaid funding into a block grant, the Wall Street Journal scoops.

The intrigue: This is somewhat surprising, after the Office of Management and Budget indicated in November that the guidance was no longer happening.

Why it matters: Some red states have already expressed interest in block grants, and supporters say they give states more flexibility, but consumer groups argue that they could lead to thousands of low-income people losing health coverage.

Yes, but: Like work requirements and several other pieces of the Trump administration's health agenda, block grants are likely to be challenged in court.

Go deeper: Tennessee block grant plan faces uphill battle

Go deeper

RNC expands convention search across the Sun Belt

Donald Trump, Mike Pence and their families on the last night of the Republican National Convention in Ohio in 2016. Photo: David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images.

The Republican National Committee is planning site visits over the next 10 days to more than a half-dozen cities — across the South and into Texas and Arizona — as it scrambles for a new convention host, people familiar with the internal discussions tell Axios.

Driving the news: The RNC's executive committee voted Wednesday night to allow most of the convention to move — with only a smaller, official portion remaining in Charlotte — after North Carolina's governor said the coronavirus pandemic would mean a scaled-back event with social distancing and face coverings.

Oil faces tough road back from coronavirus

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Oil companies in the battered shale patch are starting to bring back some production as prices climb, but a new report underscores how the pandemic is taking a heavy financial toll despite signs of revival.

Driving the news: Fourteen North American producers have filed for bankruptcy thus far during the second quarter, per a tally from the law firm Haynes and Boone, which closely tracks the sector's finances.

2 hours ago - World

Hong Kong legislature bans insults to Chinese national anthem

Activists holding a candlelit remembrance outside Victoria Park in Hong Kong on June 4, 2020, to mark the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

Hong Kong’s legislature approved a bill Thursday that makes insulting the "March of the Volunteers," the Chinese national anthem, illegal, AP reports.

Why it matters: It did so on the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests, when Chinese troops opened fire on pro-democracy activists in 1989. The death toll has never been released, but estimates vary between hundreds and thousands.