May 8, 2017

The riskiest things voted on by House Republicans

Evan Vucci / AP

They had the vote and the White House victory rally. Now they have to go out and make the case for their replacement for the Affordable Care Act — and not just to the faithful who wanted repeal all along. The bill was loaded up with politically dangerous changes all along, and judging from all the damaging headlines about what might count as a pre-existing condition, now it has even more.

Here's what could make them the most vulnerable, at town halls and in next year's mid-term elections.

  • Pre-existing condition waivers. They're spending so much time explaining the waivers that states could get under Rep. Tom MacArthur's amendment, and the specific circumstances in which they might apply, that all of their work to limit the damage isn't doing them much good. It didn't help when Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker immediately suggested he might apply for one.
  • Essential health benefit waivers. They're going to spend a lot of time explaining which benefits might be cut and arguing about which ones aren't important. (Maternity coverage seems to be a big one.)
  • Medicaid cuts. As Health and Human Services secretary Tom Price found this weekend, when the bill cuts $880 billion over 10 years, it's hard to convince people that no one will be hurt by that — especially when the Congressional Budget Office says 14 million people will lose coverage.
  • Age rating. AARP is already firing away at the "age tax" — the provision that would let insurers charge older customers as much as five times more than young adults, compared to the 3:1 ratio under the ACA.
  • Replacing the tax credits. The bill replaces the ACA's tax credits, which adjust for income and geography, with flat credits based on age. But by reinventing the ACA tax credit, they're finding all kinds of problems that have to be fixed — like CBO's warning that they'd leave the low-income elderly vulnerable to massive premium increases. (Sen. Susan Collins said on ABC's This Week that the GOP tax credits should adjust for — wait for it — income and geography.)
  • Net investment tax repeal. The bill gets rid of the ACA's taxes, but by repealing the 3.8 percent tax on high-income people's net investment income, they're getting hammered with charges that the bill is a tax cut for the rich.
  • Congressional exemption. The House scrambled to pass a separate bill to get rid of the exemption that shields members of Congress and their staffs from the effects of the state waivers. But judging from the way that exemption has taken off in social media, the damage is already done.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,014,673 — Total deaths: 52,973 — Total recoveries: 210,335Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 244,678 — Total deaths: 5,911 — Total recoveries: 9,058Map.
  3. 2020 updates: The Democratic National Committee said its July convention will be postponed until August because of the coronavirus. A federal judge declined to delay Wisconsin's April 7 primary election.
  4. Jobs latest: Coronavirus unemployment numbers are like a natural disaster hitting every state.
  5. Public health latest: Anthony Fauci called for all states across the U.S. to issue stay-at-home orders. The FDA will allow blood donations from gay men after 3-month waiting period, citing "urgent need."
  6. Business latest: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said oil companies are eligible for aid from new lending programs the Federal Reserve is setting up, but not direct loans from his department.
  7. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Navy removes captain of aircraft carrier who sounded alarm about coronavirus.
  8. 1 future thing: In developing countries, consequences of COVID-19 could be deeper and far more difficult to recover from.
  9. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Mark Meadows considers new White House press secretary

Photos: Alyssa Farah, Defense Department; Stephanie Grisham, Alex Wong/Getty Images; Kayleigh McEnany, Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has privately discussed bringing on Pentagon spokeswoman Alyssa Farah or Trump campaign spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany as a new White House press secretary, two sources familiar with the talks tell Axios.

Why it matters: Meadows' start on Tuesday as Trump's new chief — and televised coronavirus briefings that feature President Trump himself — present a chance to overhaul a press shop that's kept a low profile since President Trump ended the tradition of daily press secretary briefings.

CNN: Fauci advises all states issue stay-at-home orders

Dr. Anthony Fauci listens to President Trump speak during a briefing on April 1. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci recommended on Thursday that all states across the U.S. implement stay-at-home orders, at a CNN town hall.

Why it matters: The recommendation stands in contrast to President Trump's calls for "flexibility." Nearly 4o states have issued stay-at-home orders to promote social distancing as a way to combat the novel coronavirus — but the orders vary in strictness and duration.