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Sen. Susan Collins was promised two ACA votes. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Now that Congress has passed a bill funding the Children's Health Insurance Program — more than three months after funding expired — the clock is ticking as lawmakers work at putting together a package to stabilize the individual insurance market.

The bottom line: Congress and the Trump administration have taken several steps that will likely cause big premiums spikes for people who buy insurance on their own. If lawmakers want to mitigate some of that sticker shock, they need to act relatively fast.

"The maximum impact would be if a bill passed well before insurers have to submit proposed premiums for 2019, which is June 20," said Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Where it stands: Sen. Susan Collins was promised votes on two health care bills in return for her vote on the tax bill: the stabilization bill sponsored by Sens. Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray; and her own bill to set up a new reinsurance program, compensating insurers for their most expensive customers.

  • House Republicans were always hesitant at best about Alexander-Murray, and it hasn't yet been attached to any other vehicle.
  • Democrats were once gung-ho, but that was before Republicans repealed the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate.

What's next: Democrats want to renegotiate the package to account for mandate repeal. It's not clear what they want, or what Republicans would accept.

  • Alexander has said he's optimistic that the market stabilization efforts will be attached to a government spending bill, but it'll have to get in line behind a host of other controversies.
  • House Republicans have signaled they're open to some kind of reinsurance program. Collins said she's working with the House on potential changes to her proposal.
  • "Reinsurance was part of the House's repeal and replace efforts, so there's no reason why Republicans would be philosophically against it right off the bat. Depends on the details of the package," a House GOP aide said.

Go deeper

The startup that wants to disrupt big internet providers

Maura Losch/Axios

A new startup backed by funding from AOL founder Steve Case and Laurene Powell Jobs wants to break up broadband monopolies across the country.

Why it matters: Internet access has been crucial during the pandemic, but it's not ubiquitous, and it can be both slow and unaffordable in swaths of the country.

1 hour ago - World

Top general: China's hypersonic missile test "very close" to a "Sputnik moment"

Gen. Mark Milley. Photo: Rod Lamkey-Pool/Getty Images

Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned Wednesday that China's test of a hypersonic missile is "very concerning" and "very close" to the kind of "Sputnik moment" that triggered the Space Race during the Cold War.

Why it matters: The comments by America's top uniformed general underscore the depths of U.S. concerns about China's rapid military expansion and development of advanced weaponry.

Climate reckoning for oil and gas CEOs

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Top executives from ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron and Shell will face a reckoning on Capitol Hill Thursday, as they're grilled on evidence that their companies knew for years that their products were driving climate change but chose to downplay or deny it.

Why it matters: The hearing before the House Oversight Committee will be the first time these executives have been brought together to provide sworn testimony regarding what they knew about the ties between their company's products and climate change, and when they knew it.

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