Good morning. It's actually Friday, and to reward ourselves for making it through this historic week, we can all watch another Democratic debate tonight.
Today's word count is 746, or a 3-minute read.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
The Delaware court that oversaw the trial between Anthem and Cigna over their botched health insurance merger expects to make a ruling on the lawsuit by the end of this month, Cigna CEO David Cordani told investors Thursday.
Why it matters: Whatever the resolution is, shareholders and people who get health insurance through the losing company ultimately will be stomaching a very large payout, Axios' Bob Herman reports.
Where it stands: Anthem alleges that Cigna owes $20 billion in damages, and Cigna alleges that Anthem owes $13 billion in damages plus another $1.85 billion in merger termination fees.
Between the lines: Cordani told investors during Cigna's earnings call that the court will make a decision by the end of February, and said "we feel very strong about our position relative to our contractual responsibility and contractual ability to collect our break fee."
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak is already scuttling supply chains and wreaking havoc on companies around the world that do business in China, but if analysts' projections are correct, the rebound from the virus could help propel the U.S. economy to new heights right around the time of the 2020 presidential election, Axios' Dion Rabouin reports.
Why it matters: With President Trump touting the stock market's performance and jobs growth as key accomplishments, that bounceback could play a major role in the election's outcome.
What's happening: S&P Global expects the outbreak to "stabilize globally in April 2020, with virtually no new transmissions in May."
What we're hearing: "We're likely to return not just to normal but above normal because of the U.S.-China trade deal," Kristina Hooper, chief global market strategist at Invesco, tells Axios.
Plus, U.S. economic data had been strengthening ahead of the outbreak: Last month the all-important services sector notched its best reading since September; consumer confidence has been holding at historically high levels; and a private payrolls survey released Wednesday showed the highest job growth in five years.
The World Health Organization says it will host a "major meeting" with researchers and health agencies from around the world on Tuesday to address the coronavirus outbreak, Axios' Courtenay Brown writes.
Why it matters: Thousands of people have been infected, and the death toll is rising. There is no proven treatment or vaccine.
Envision Healthcare CEO Chris Holden has departed the physician staffing company, and no successor has been chosen, the company said this week.
Why it matters: Envision, which was bought out by private equity firm KKR in 2018, is the parent of an ER staffing company that has become notorious for its practice of sticking patients with unexpected out-of-network bills, Bob reports.
Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) sent a letter Thursday to the Food and Drug Administration asking for assurance that the coronavirus won't affect the supply chain for American food, pharmaceuticals or medical supplies, Axios' Marisa Fernandez writes.
The big picture: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has already asked U.S. health care providers and the public to not stock up on medical masks and other supplies while the risk of coronavirus inside the U.S. remains low.
What they're saying:
"[School] closures, combined with the possibility of infected workers, could limit the ability of Chinese manufacturers to maintain the production capacity needed to keep pace with global demand. Given the strain this virus has placed on China's healthcare system, we are concerned there could be reduced resources available to U.S. healthcare providers that rely on products manufactured in China."— Sens. Marco Rubio and Chris Murphy