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AP file photo

For those of you wondering what the 2018 Obamacare marketplaces will look like, we now know people with so-called "grandmothered" health plans — pre-Obamacare plans that got extended — still won't have to participate. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services sent out a memo Thursday extending the transitional policies for another year, expiring by December 2018.

The context: It's the third such extension, although it's less than the two-year extension the insurance industry wanted. People in those plans, which don't meet all of Obamacare's benefit requirements, bought them after the law went into effect in 2010 but before the exchanges went live in 2014. The Obama administration allowed states to extend the policies after there was blowback from consumers who received cancellation notices.

What it means: The Obamacare risk pool will, again, have slightly fewer healthier enrollees—not exactly a positive for those who wanted a more stable marketplace for next year. But they are presumably profitable plans for insurers. It's generally believed that healthier people are in grandmothered plans.

Yes, but: Many states decided to end grandmothered plans already, and more could decide to ignore the extension.

Go deeper

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.
Off the Rails

Episode 3: Descent into madness ... Trump: "Sometimes you need a little crazy"

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 3: The conspiracy goes too far. Trump's outside lawyers plot to seize voting machines and spin theories about communists, spies and computer software.

President Trump was sitting in the Oval Office one day in late November when a call came in from lawyer Sidney Powell. "Ugh, Sidney," he told the staff in the room before he picked up. "She's getting a little crazy, isn't she? She's really gotta tone it down. No one believes this stuff. It's just too much."

Convicts turn to D.C. fixers for Trump pardons

Trump confidante Matt Schlapp interviews Jared Kushner last February. Schlapp is seeking a pardon for a biotech executive. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

A flood of convicted criminals has retained lobbyists since November’s presidential election to press President Trump for pardons or commutations before he leaves office.

What we're hearing: Among them is Nickie Lum Davis, a Hawaii woman who pleaded guilty last year to abetting an illicit foreign lobbying campaign on behalf of fugitive Malaysian businessman Jho Low. Trump confidante Matt Schlapp also is seeking a pardon for a former biopharmaceutical executive convicted of fraud less than two months ago.