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

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Steve Helber / AP

The Senate GOP health care working group talked today about how to make sure the Affordable Care Act marketplaces don't melt down before next year. That could mean a short-term stabilization bill, but senators said they'd prefer to do it as part of a bigger ACA replacement bill if possible.

The bottom line: "I think the primary focus of discussion right now is the fact that these markets are collapsing," said Sen. Ron Johnson. "So we're trying to grapple with what can we do short-term to stabilize these markets, to prevent them from collapsing." Sen. Thom Tillis said all Senate Republicans discussed the possible need for "relief" at a later lunch, where Sen. Joni Ernst talked about the threat that the last major insurer might pull out of Iowa.

Short-term bill vs. long-term bill: Sen. Rob Portman said there was "no decision made on that, but there is a need to make sure that whatever we do immediately helps to ensure that the insurance market doesn't collapse."

But Sen. Pat Roberts suggested there could be a first step to "shore up those who wouldn't have any insurance" before they pass the rest of the health care bill. Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander said he brought up his proposal to give more options to people who won't have any ACA insurers in 2018 and 2019.

Insurer payments: No decision on whether to fund the ACA cost-sharing subsidies either — but Johnson said he's open to "doing what we need to do in the short-term, even though they may be policies I don't support."

Go deeper

Scammers seize on COVID confusion

Data: FTC; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Scamming has skyrocketed in the past year, and much of the increase is attributed to COVID-related scams, more recently around vaccines.

Why it matters: The pandemic has created a prime opportunity for scammers to target people who are already confused about the chaotic rollouts of things like stimulus payments, loans, contact tracing and vaccines. Data shows that older people who aren't digitally literate are the most vulnerable.

11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden explains justification for Syria strike in letter to Congress

Photo: Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden told congressional leadership in a letter Saturday that this week's airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to Iranian-backed militia groups was consistent with the U.S. right to self-defense.

Why it matters: Some Democrats, including Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), have criticized the Biden administration for the strike and demanded a briefing.

13 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes Johnson & Johnson's one-shot COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

Photo: Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday issued an emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson's one-shot coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: The authorization of a third coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. will help speed up the vaccine rollout across the country, especially since the J&J shot only requires one dose as opposed to Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech's two-shot vaccines.

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