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These are the two most important things happening right now, and they're going to lead to big problems if the tension isn't resolved:

  • Republicans are increasingly saying they're not in a rush to replace Obamacare — because it's more important to get it right.
  • Insurers really, really want to know what's coming next.

You could hear the new, laid-back pace in the way committee chairmen talked about Obamacare this week. "We're going to take the time to get this right," House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Greg Walden said at a subcommittee hearing yesterday. And in an interview with Caitlin Owens this week, House Ways and Means Committee chairman Kevin Brady said only that "the bulk of the changes in law and the bulk of regulatory changes must occur this year."

But top execs at the big health insurance companies, including Anthem and Cigna, have been saying this week that they can't commit to staying in the marketplaces in 2018 until they get some better signals. Cigna CEO David Cordani told analysts and investors yesterday that the company will make its Obamacare decisions this spring, but that the markets remain "fragile at best." If the Trump administration and Congress don't get them some answers soon, that's a recipe for meltdown.

Don't forget: It's not as if there's a lot of agreement among Republicans about how to proceed, even if they wanted to move faster.

FWIW: House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters yesterday that "we want to be moving our Obamacare legislation by the end of the first quarter."

Go deeper

6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Kellyanne Conway's parting power pointers

Kellyanne Conway addresses the 2020 Republican National Convention. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Kellyanne Conway has seen power exercised as a pollster, campaign manager and senior counselor to President Trump. Now that his term in office has concluded, she shared her thoughts with Axios.

Why it matters: If there's a currency in this town, it's power, so we've asked several former Washington power brokers to share their best advice as a new administration and new Congress settle in.

6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP holdouts press on with plans to crush Cheney

Screenshot of emails to a member of Congress from individuals who signed an Americans for Limited Government petition against Rep. Liz Cheney. Photo obtained by Axios

Pro-Trump holdouts in the House are forging ahead with an uphill campaign to oust Rep. Liz Cheney as head of the chamber's Republican caucus even though Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told them to back down.

Why it matters: What happens next will be a test of McCarthy's party control and the sincerity of his opposition to the movement. Cheney (R-Wyo.) is seen as a potential leadership rival to the California Republican.

Democrats aim to punish House GOP for Capitol riot

Speaker Nancy Pelosi passes through a newly installed metal detector at the House floor entrance Thursday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Democrats plan to take advantage of corporate efforts to cut funding for Republicans who opposed certifying the 2020 election results, with a plan to target vulnerable members in the pivotal 2022 midterms for their role in the Jan. 6 violence.

Why it matters: It's unclear whether the Democrats' strategy will manifest itself in ads or earned media in the targeted races or just be a stunt to raise money for themselves. But the Capitol violence will be central to the party's messaging as it seeks to maintain its narrow majorities in Congress.