Dec 20, 2017

Repealing the individual mandate won't affect employer coverage

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There's been a lot of focus on how repealing the individual mandate affects the individual market (it raises premiums and decreases competition). But, as my colleague Caitlin Owens notes, repealing the mandate is also likely to decrease the number of people with employer-based coverage, too.

The big difference: While decreasing coverage on the individual market is likely to destabilize the market itself, the effect on the employer market is probably negligible.

The details, per Kaiser Family Foundation's Larry Levitt:

  • A lot of people decide to take up employer coverage because it's generally a pretty good deal for them. But the mandate does provide an extra incentive for them to do so.
  • The Congressional Budget Office predicts that with the mandate repealed, 3 million fewer people will have employer coverage. But that's against the more than 150 million people who have employer coverage.
  • "That would be a drop in the bucket … but a meaningful change in the number of people uninsured," Levitt says.

Sound smart: While the employer market will be absolutely fine, some of those 3 million newly uninsured people are sure to get sick — raising the question of who's on the hook for their health care bills, if they can't afford to pay.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 1,579,690 — Total deaths: 94,567 — Total recoveries: 346,780Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 452,582 — Total deaths: 16,129 — Total recoveries: 24,790Map.
  3. Public health latest: U.S. has expelled thousands of migrants under coronavirus public health orderDr. Anthony Fauci said social distancing could reduce the U.S. death toll to 60,000.
  4. Business latest: The Fed will lend up to $2.3 trillion for businesses, state and city governments — Another 6.6 million jobless claims were filed last week.
  5. World latest: Boris Johnson is moved out of ICU but remains in hospital with coronavirus.
  6. In Congress: Senate in stalemate over additional funding for small business relief program.
  7. 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.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Biden rolls out new policies in effort to court Sanders supporters

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The Biden campaign announced two new policies on Thursday on health care and student debt that are squarely aimed at appealing to supporters of Bernie Sanders, who ended his campaign for the Democratic nomination on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The policies don't go as far as Sanders' platform, but they signal that Biden is serious about incorporating elements of his former rival's agenda in an effort to help unify the Democratic Party and defeat President Trump in the general election.

Reports: Saudi Arabia and Russia reach major deal to cut oil production

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OPEC+, led by mega-producers Saudi Arabia and Russia, reached a tentative agreement Thursday to impose large cuts in oil production as the coronavirus pandemic fuels an unprecedented collapse in demand, per Bloomberg and Reuters.

Why it matters: The revival of the OPEC+ collaboration patches up the early March rupture between the countries, which had pushed already depressed prices down much further by threatening to unleash even more new supplies into the saturated market.