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President Trump walks with Mitch McConnell and Sen. John Barrasso ahead of his tax reform meeting with GOP senators. Photo: Alex Brandon / AP

It's not over yet, but Republicans' tax plan had a good day yesterday — and that means the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate is, yet again, in serious jeopardy.

The latest: All 12 Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee voted for the tax overhaul, including once-wavering budget hawks Bob Corker and Ron Johnson.

  • Senators coming out of their lunch meeting with Trump yesterday said he endorsed the ACA stabilization bill from Sens. Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray, as well as a new reinsurance program championed by Sen. Susan Collins. Passing those two measures would go a long way toward getting Collins on board.
  • Ways and Means chairman Kevin Brady said repealing the individual mandate wouldn't be a problem for the House.

Yes, but: Trump endorsing a new reinsurance program — which would cost roughly $5 billion over two years — does not necessarily mean House Republicans would be on board.

Be smart: The two measures Republicans are eyeing as ways to soften the blow from the individual mandate are probably inadequate.

  • Alexander-Murray would, primarily, restore cost-sharing payments to insurance companies. That has little bearing on the premium increases that would stem from repealing the individual mandate.
  • Reinsurance — directly paying insurers for their most expensive enrollees — can make a big difference. It's one of the most efficient options the federal government has, Avalere's Caroline Pearson says. For every dollar the government spends on reinsurance, it gets about 60 cents back through lower premiums and thus lower premium subsidies.
  • But Congress would probably need to provide about $10 billion per year to offset the costs of losing the individual mandate, Pearson says — a far cry from the roughly $2.5 billion per year in Collins' proposal.
  • Reinsurance isn't structural; it's truly just giving insurance companies money so that they won't go collect that money through premiums. When the program ends, premiums go back up. (This happened last year, when the ACA's temporary reinsurance program ended.)
  • So, even under Collins' proposal, premiums would spike again in two years — shortly before the 2020 election, as a matter of fact

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

U.S: Nord Stream 2 "will not move forward" if Russia invades Ukraine

U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price during a press briefing at the State Department in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. will make sure the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project between Russia and Germany won't go ahead if Russian troops invade Ukraine, State Department spokesperson Ned Price told NPR on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Germany's ambassador to the U.S. appeared to support Price's strong rhetoric on the strategically significant pipeline that would circumvent Ukrainian transit infrastructure and deliver Russian gas directly to Germany, eliminating one of the last deterrents Ukraine has against an invasion, per Axios' Zachary Basu.

Scoop: Stephanie Ruhle to replace Brian Williams on MSNBC

Photo: Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

MSNBC will soon announce plans to move morning anchor Stephanie Ruhle to the 11 pm ET hour that Brian Williams turned into an elite destination, two sources familiar with the move tell Axios.

Details: The 9 am ET hour, currently hosted by Ruhle, will become part of MSNBC's flagship morning show, "Morning Joe," which currently runs from 6 am to 9 am ET.

Oath Keepers leader denied bail on Capitol riot sedition charge

Oath Keepers co-founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes. Photo: Susan Walsh/AP

A federal judge ordered Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes to remain jailed Wednesday until trial on charges stemming from the Capitol riot.

Why it matters: The judge said the most prominent far-right figure charged in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection had access to weapons and his alleged "continued advocacy for violence against the federal government" gave credence to prosecutors' view that, if released, Rhodes could endanger others.