House Speaker Paul Ryan showed how conflicted Republicans are on Obamacare Thursday by trying to acknowledge all of their cross pressures in one press conference. Here's what he said about the timing of repeal and replacement:

  1. They have to be done "all at the same time so that everybody sees what we're trying to do."
  2. It's going to go through all of the House committees that handle health care.
  3. But it has to be done quickly, because "this law is collapsing while we speak." (More on that below.)
  4. But "we're not holding hard deadlines, only because we want to get it right."

The bottom line: Don't expect any of this to happen right away. Ryan said House Republicans will talk a lot about replacement ideas at their retreat, which is being held in Philadelphia Jan. 25-27. But Ryan insists they're coordinating with the Trump administration, and says he discussed the issue with Vice President-elect Mike Pence on Wednesday.

Reality check: Ryan was right that many states are experiencing double-digit Obamacare premium increases he cited — but not everyone agrees that they mean the law is collapsing. Independent analysts, including S&P Global, have concluded that the huge rate hikes were probably a one-time correction that was needed to bring premiums in line with costs.

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The big picture: Congress is just one arm of government making the case against these companies. Google is expected to be the first of the firms to face possible antitrust litigation from the Justice Department before summer's end, but all four face a full-court press of investigations by DOJ, the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general.

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The White House coronavirus task force will examine more closely just how much SARS-CoV-2 might be transmitted via aerosols, and not just from droplets, NIAID director Anthony Fauci said Wednesday at an online forum sponsored by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

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Call it the great retail wash. A wave of defaults, bankruptcies and evictions expected in cities across the U.S. is poised to remake the retail landscape across the country, but there may be some upside for consumers and small businesses.

Why it matters: Rather than an overnight descent into a collection of urban wastelands full of Starbucks, Amazon fulfillment centers, Chase bank branches and nothing else, the coronavirus pandemic and resulting retail apocalypse may just mean that, in major U.S. cities, less is more.