Aug 1, 2017

Next step on health care: Short-term stabilization bill

Alex Brandon / AP

Senate HELP Committee chairman Lamar Alexander says he wants to work with Democrats on a short-term bill to stabilize the Affordable Care Act's insurance markets — and he's asked President Trump to keep paying insurers for their cost-sharing reduction subsidies for two more months to give the Senate time to approve a package by the end of September.

What to watch: Alexander says he wants to hold hearings starting the week of Sept. 4 and approve a package by Sept. 27, the date by which health insurers must sign contracts to offer ACA coverage in 2018. He says he wants the package to fund the insurer payments for an additional year, but also "greater flexibility for states in approving health insurance policies."

Key quote: "If your house is on fire, you want to put out the fire, and the fire in this case is the individual health insurance market."

Reality check: Alexander will have to convince other Republicans, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Majority Whip John Cornyn, who insist they don't want "bailouts" without any changes to the ACA. But he could also run into resistance from Democrats if he pushes for too much "flexibility" for state insurance regulators. He'd also have to convince House Republicans, who he didn't mention at all.

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Fed temporarily lifts Wells Fargo's growth restrictions

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The Federal Reserve said Wednesday it will temporarily lift Wells Fargo’s growth restrictions, which were put in place following the bank’s customer abuse scandals.

Why it matters: The Fed’s only reason for lifting the cap is so Wells Fargo can dole out more loans to struggling small businesses as part of the government’s coronavirus aid package. Earlier this week, the bank said it could only lend a total of $10 billion, thanks to Fed restrictions that it can’t grow its assets beyond $1.95 trillion.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 1,450,343 — Total deaths: 83,568 — Total recoveries: 308,617Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 399,979 — Total deaths: 12,912 — Total recoveries: 22,539Map.
  3. Business updates: Roughly one-third of U.S. apartment renters didn't make April payments.
  4. Federal government latest: The U.S. has begun to see "glimmers of hope" despite its highest recorded number of deaths in 24 hours, Anthony Fauci said.
  5. Public health latest: Surgeon General Jerome Adams highlighted the disproportionate impact the illness is having on African-American communities.
  6. World latest: Indians look to Taiwan amid China's coronavirus missteps
  7. 🚌 Public transit: Systems across the country are experiencing ridership collapse, squeezed funding streams and slow recovery from the pandemic.
  8. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Bernie Sanders suspends presidential campaign

Photo: ANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders announced Wednesday that he is suspending his presidential campaign.

The big picture: It's an end to the campaign of the leading progressive in the race — and the candidate who seemed to be the clear front-runner for the Democratic nomination just a few months ago. It also makes Biden the presumptive Democratic nominee four months before the party's convention in Milwaukee.