Good morning ... And welcome to day four of the Senate's tax/health care markup.
You've probably seen a lot of headlines saying Affordable Care Act enrollment is going well. (In fact, I've written some of them.) But after yesterday's update, we should probably all recalibrate our math. And when we do, enrollment won't look so hot.
Here's why that math is incomplete: Last year's open enrollment season was three months long. This one is half that, at six weeks. So, we're already a third of the way through this enrollment period.
Yes, but: As Pearson notes, it's hard to make a direct comparison because there tends to be a surge at the end of the enrollment period. So it's hard to map out a clean trend line.
Still, given that the pace of sign-ups is already slipping, this year's last-minute surge would have to be enormous to close the gap. And it's hard to have an enormous surge without any official marketing or outreach encouraging people to sign up.
Republicans didn't argue among themselves too much when they decided to try to repeal the ACA's individual mandate through their tax overhaul. But that decision is nevertheless causing some issues for the broader tax effort.
Alexander-Murray probably won't be enough. Republican senators who support the tax overhaul all offered a similar refrain when I spoke to them yesterday: Whatever disruption is caused by repealing the individual mandate will be addressed by passing the ACA stabilization bill from Sens. Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray.
Goldman Sachs sold more than half of its Community Health Systems stock in the last quarter, and the banking giant issued a dire report this week that basically suggested investors jump ship, Axios' Bob Herman reports.
What Goldman said: "We believe short-term fixes…may not help [CHS] solve longer-term problems." CHS is still saddled with $14 billion of debt, which Goldman thinks could lead to accounting audits or bankruptcy by next year. Goldman suggested CHS debt holders sell their 2020 bonds because more hospital sales will not "yield enough proceeds" to cover CHS' debt that is coming due.
Go deeper: Read more about the hospital chain's struggles here and here.
The Washington Post has a moving story this morning about a Northern Virginia family whose four-year-old daughter receives spinal tap and chemo treatments at Inova Fairfax Hospital.
Yes, but: Their old insurance carrier, Anthem, decided not to sell individual policies next year in their part of the state. Only Cigna is participating there — and Cigna's provider network doesn't include Inova Fairfax Hospital. It's the only local hospital with a dedicated pediatric cancer unit, according to the Post.
Reality check: The policy and political worlds often talk about "bare counties" and "market stability" in abstract terms. This is why they matter.
What we're watching today: The same handful of senators we were watching all summer, because nothing ever changes.
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