Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with the Axios AM and PM newsletters. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to the Axios Closer newsletter for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios Pro Rata

Dive into the world of dealmakers across VC, PE and M&A with Axios Pro Rata. Delivered daily to your inbox by Dan Primack and Kia Kokalitcheva.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with the Axios Sports newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Des Moines newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Tampa Bay newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Austin news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Austin newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Atlanta news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Atlanta newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Philadelphia news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Philadelphia newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Chicago news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Chicago newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top DC news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios DC newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Evan Vucci / AP

Trumpcare might be dead, but the Obamacare fight continues.

Next up: Republicans have to settle the future of Obamacare's subsidies to insurers — and the House lawsuit that's trying to get rid of them.

Why it matters: The deadline is quickly approaching for cleaning up a mess that Republicans created.

  • If the Trump administration decides to stop appealing a federal judge's ruling against the subsidies, the payments — called cost-sharing reduction subsidies — will stop, health insurers will lose billions of dollars, and the individual market could collapse because the insurers will have to keep helping low-income enrollees whether they're getting the payments or not.
  • Republicans could just drop the lawsuit and give the insurers the money, to prevent a meltdown. But their next chance is the short-term spending bill due at the end of April — which is already almost certain to be mired in a fight over Planned Parenthood funding and money to build a wall along the southern border. The subsidies could get added to that spending bill, but "only if insurers agree not to abandon the market in the next couple weeks," a senior GOP aide told me. And the payments could lead to a fight among Republicans, in addition to their likely battles over Planned Parenthood and the wall.

This is all the legacy of a lawsuit congressional Republicans filed when the Obama administration was running Obamacare — long before the White House changed hands.

Oops: Even before Trumpcare's failure, GOP aides acknowledged that the lawsuit seemed like a better idea at the time than it does now. Then, it was hard to ignore the awkwardness of Republicans potentially giving money to the insurers they've complained about for seven years. Now, they face the even more unpleasant prospect of helping stabilize a law they just failed to get rid of.

Kristine Grow, a spokeswoman for America's Health Insurance Plans, said the payments "are essential for the stability of the market." Deadlines for 2018 participation are quickly approaching within the next few weeks, she said, and "more clarity sooner rather than later would be tremendously helpful."

But there are real constitutional questions involved in the lawsuit, which is why this was a fight Republicans were poised to win and also why the House is highly unlikely to drop the case. The most likely scenario is that the administration drops the appeal, and Congress appropriates the money. But that's easier said than done, especially in the post-Trumpcare political climate.

The issue: The House says the administration is illegally paying insurers the cost-sharing reduction subsidies under Obamacare. These are payments made to insurers to reduce out-of-pocket costs for low-income enrollees.

While insurers clearly must pass along the help to enrollees by law, Republicans have argued Congress never actually gave the Obama administration the money for the program that's being used to pay insurers. A district court judge has sided with them, but the Obama administration appealed the case. It was delayed in February and is currently on hold, with an update due in May.

What this all comes down to: If the Trump administration stops fighting the case and the payments stop, insurers will lose $10 billion next year, according to a recent Congressional Budget Office report. Insurers are already having a hard time on the individual market, and a $10 billion loss could easily be enough to convince those still participating to leave at the end of the year.

Some of their problems were due to structural flaws in Obamacare, and insurers made errors in setting premiums. But they have also lost a lot of money after Republicans successfully blocked the government from making payments designed to help plans deal with risk.

If Republicans want to make sure the Obamacare markets "explode," as President Trump has predicted they will, their best course of action would be to leave the payments unfunded. But this is politically risky: People have a tendency to blame their problems on those in charge, and many people would surely lose coverage or see massive premium increases if the GOP goes this route.

The problem: Conservatives want to keep trying to repeal Obamacare, and appropriating the money could be dubbed as giving up. Rep. Mark Meadows, chairman of the hardliner Freedom Caucus, said earlier this year he supports making the payments, but only as long as they're part of a longer-term repeal and replace effort.

Go deeper

Updated 24 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a potentially historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring hazards ranging from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow, to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Swastikas found outside Union Station in D.C.

People walk through Union Station on Jan. 16 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Drawings of swastikas appeared etched around the entrance to Union Station in Washington, D.C., on Friday morning.

Driving the news: "An investigation is underway with Amtrak Police and the Metropolitan Police Department after swastikas were reported on the exterior of Washington Union Station on Friday," Amtrak spokesperson Kimberly Woods said in a statement to Axios.

In photos: Biden visits collapsed bridge in Pittsburgh

President Biden and the Mayor of Pittsburgh Ed Gainey visit the scene of the Forbes Avenue Bridge collapse over Fern Hollow Creek in Frick Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, January 28, 2022. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden on Friday visited the site of the collapsed bridge in Pittsburgh.

Driving the news: "I’ve been coming to Pittsburgh a long time,” Biden said, adding that there are more bridges than any other city in the world. "And we’re going to fix them all," he said, per a White House pool reporter.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!