Jul 30, 2018 - Health Care

A new health care solution gains steam

President Trump and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Photo: Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced yesterday that it has approved Wisconsin's proposal for a reinsurance program — the fourth state to win such a waiver. (The others are Alaska, Minnesota and Oregon.)

The big picture: It's not quite fair to say reinsurance is fully bipartisan or non-controversial — it couldn't get through Congress, after all. But it's about the closest thing to a consensus idea that exists in the world of insurance, and it's continuing to move forward.

The details: Reinsurance is pretty straightforward: The government simply gives insurers money to help offset the costs of their most expensive patients. That lowers premiums overall, which in turn lowers the federal government's costs to subsidize those premiums.

Why it matters: Reinsurance works. Insurers in Minnesota are actually looking to reduce their premiums next year — which almost never happens — and they say the state's reinsurance program is part of the reason.

What's next

Bolton alleges in book that Trump tied Ukraine aid to investigations

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton alleges in his forthcoming book that the president explicitly told him "he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens," the New York Times first reported.

Why this matters: The revelations present a dramatic 11th hour turn in Trump's Senate impeachment trial. They directly contradict Trump's claim that he never tied the hold-up of Ukrainian aid to his demands for investigations into his political opponent Joe Biden.

Honoring Kobe Bryant: Sports stars, politicians and celebrities mourn NBA great

Kobe Bryant on court for the Los Angeles Lakers during the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest on All-Star Saturday Night, part of 2010 NBA All-Star Weekend at American Airlines Center in Dallas in February 2010. Photo: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Sports stars, politicians and celebrities paid tribute to NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who was killed in a California helicopter crash alongside his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others on Saturday. He was 41.

What they're saying: Lakers great Shaquille O'Neal said in an Instagram post of his former teammate, "There's no words to express the pain I'm going through now with this tragic and sad moment of losing my friend, my brother, my partner in winning championships, my dude and my homie. I love you brother and you will be missed."

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What's next: Trump's broader travel ban

A sign for International Arrivals is shown at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Photo: Ted S. Warren/AP

President Trump is expected to announce an expanded travel ban this week, which would restrict immigration from seven additional countries — Nigeria, Myanmar, Sudan, Belarus, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan and Tanzania, per multiple reports.

  • The announcement would come on the third anniversary of Trump's original travel ban, which targeted Muslim-majority nations, per Axios' Stef Kight.