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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

Biden plans to ask public to wear masks for first 100 days in office

Joe Biden. Photo: Mark Makela/Gettu Images

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris sat down with CNN on Thursday for their first joint interview since the election.

The big picture: In the hour-long segment, the twosome laid out plans for responding to the pandemic, jump-starting the economy and managing the transition of power, among other priorities.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
57 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus death rates rising across the country

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, Census Bureau; Cartogram: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Daily coronavirus-related deaths in the U.S. hit a new record on Wednesday, when roughly 2,800 people died from the virus.

The big picture: Caseloads and hospitalizations continue to rise, and deaths are spiking in states all across the country.

57 mins ago - World

Ratcliffe's long-term China play

Ratcliffe testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee in May. Photo: Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe told Axios in an interview Thursday that "China and China alone is the only country that has the ability to compete with the U.S." — and hopes the intelligence community will adopt his view even under "the next administration."

Why it matters: Ratcliffe's comments suggested that he's trying to lock in the Trump era's harder line on China for the long term.