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Alex Brandon / AP

Health and Human Services secretary Tom Price suggested this morning that he might expand waivers from the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate — a step that health insurers have warned against because it could drive up premiums. The individual mandate is "one of those things that actually is driving up the costs," Price said on ABC's "This Week," and he's looking for ways to revisit any ACA regulations that increase health care costs: "All things are on the table to try to help patients."

Why it matters: Price didn't explain why he thinks the individual mandate is driving up costs, but health insurers have said the opposite — that the mandate is needed to bring healthy people into the system to help cover the costs of sick people. If it goes away, and insurers still have to cover people with pre-existing conditions, they say they'd have to raise premiums even more.

The bottom line: Price said the Trump administration doesn't actually want to "let Obamacare implode," as President Trump has tweeted, and insisted that "the current system is imploding." But insurers have warned that two big steps that would truly destabilize the market would be to stop enforcing the individual mandate and to stop paying the insurers for the ACA's cost-sharing subsidies for low-income people — something Trump threatened to do yesterday.

Go deeper

Scoop: Qatar emir to visit White House on Monday

The emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, leaves the White House after meeting President Trump in 2019. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

The emir of Qatar will meet with President Biden at the White House on Monday to discuss Afghanistan as well as contingency plans to provide natural gas to Europe in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Europe's reliance on Russia for 40% of its natural gas is undermining Biden's attempts to coordinate "massive" sanctions to be imposed from both sides of the Atlantic if Russia invades. The White House wants Qatar to help ensure European countries can enforce tough sanctions without risking an energy crisis.

Biden: There won't be "American forces moving into Ukraine"

President Joe Biden told reporters Tuesday that he does not foresee U.S. troops moving into Ukraine.

Why it matters: Biden's comments come as tensions between Russia and Ukraine persist, and a Russian invasion of Ukraine appears increasingly likely.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments — Fauci: "Confident" Omicron cases will peak in February.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Biden admin withdraws temporary vaccine-or-test mandate for large employers — New York Supreme Court strikes down Gov. Hochul's mask mandate for public areas — Sarah Palin tests positive, delaying defamation trial — Virginia school boards sue Gov. Youngkin for lifting mask mandate.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker