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Sam Baker Apr 13
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New Jersey is trying to bring back the individual mandate

Phil Murphy
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy at the Newark Musem. Photo: Kena Betancur/VIEWpress via Getty Images

The New Jersey legislature approved two big bills Thursday designed to counteract some of President Trump's changes to the Affordable Care Act and stabilize the state's individual insurance market.

Why it matters: Some ACA allies have pinned their hope on states to counteract the administration's policy moves, but there will likely only be limited effects in blue states. But if Gov. Phil Murphy approves these bills, it could give other blue states more encouragement to move forward.

The bills: One would begin the process of seeking a federal waiver to establish a reinsurance program. The other would create an individual mandate in the state.

  • If Gov. Phil Murphy signs off, New Jersey would become only the second state in the country to have an individual mandate, and the first state to pass one since the federal coverage requirement was repealed.
  • The mandate bill would require New Jersey residents to buy coverage that meets New Jersey's standards — not the federal government's. And New Jersey already bans the sale of short-term health plans, which the Trump administration is expanding.
  • Together, this means that New Jersey's market would function a lot like the pre-Trump ACA.

Go deeper: Freelance health care journalist/analyst Andrew Sprung has written a lot about how these measures could preempt the administration's priorities.

Axios 4 hours ago
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Haley Britzky 4 hours ago
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Extremist with ties to 9/11 captured by U.S.-backed Syrian forces

Fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) stand guard on a rooftop.
Fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces stand guard on a rooftop in Raqa on October 20, 2017. Photo: Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images

Mohammed Haydar Zammar, a Syrian-born German extremist who is believed to have links to the 9/11 attacks, is being questioned by the Syrian Democratic Forces, NBC reported Wednesday, citing an AFP report, and CNN confirmed on Thursday.

Why it matters: Per CNN, Zammar "is believed to have recruited some of the perpetrators" for the 9/11 attacks. Zammar was "a well-known figure in the Muslim community (and to German and U.S. intelligence agencies by the late 1990s)," the 9/11 Commission Report stated, according to NBC. Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon told CNN that Zammar "was captured more than a month ago by SDF partners as part of their ongoing operations to defeat ISIS inside Syria."