May 16, 2017

Senate Republicans talk about how to stabilize ACA markets

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."

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Cuomo: Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "really panicked people"

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a press conference Sunday that President Donald Trump's unexpected Saturday announcement of a possible "short-term" quarantine of New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut to curb the spread of the coronavirus "really panicked people."

Why it matters: Though Trump ruled out the mandatory quarantine later that day, Cuomo said people still called "all night long" asking about the comments and many likely fled the New York area — possibly spreading the virus further.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 691,867 — Total deaths: 32,988 — Total recoveries: 146,613.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 125,433 — Total deaths: 2,201 — Total recoveries: 2,612.
  3. Federal government latest: The first federal prisoner to die from coronavirus was reported from a correctional facility in Louisiana on Sunday.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week.
  6. World updates: Italy reported 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779
  7. What should I do? Answers 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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U.S. coronavirus updates: Fauci suggests death toll could top 100,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on CNN Sunday that models suggest COVID-19 will infect millions of Americans and could kill 100,000–200,000, though he stressed that the projections are "such a moving target."

The big picture: With more than 121,000 people infected, the U.S. has the most COVID-19 cases in the world, exceeding China and Italy, per data from Johns Hopkins. A second wave of American cities, including Boston, Detroit, New Orleans and Philadelphia, reported influxes of cases on Saturday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 56 mins ago - Health