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.

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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Gasoline-powered cars may be going the way of the woolly mammoth, even if it will take decades to replace them and seems hard to fathom today.

The big picture: Internal combustion engines (ICEs) have powered automobiles for more than 100 years. But the shift to electric vehicles, slow to materialize at first, is now accelerating due to tightening government policies, falling costs and a societal reckoning about climate change.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam tests positive for coronavirus

Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and his wife, Pamela, both tested positive for coronavirus, his office announced on Friday.

The state of play: The Northams were tested after one of their staff "who works closely within the couple's living quarters" tested positive. The governor is asymptomatic, while his wife is "experiencing mild symptoms." They plan to isolate at home for 10 days.

Ina Fried, author of Login
3 hours ago - Technology

Amazon wants to flood America with Alexa cameras and microphones

Photo: Amazon

In a Thursday event unveiling a slew of new home devices ahead of the holidays, Amazon made clearer than ever its determination to flood America with cameras, microphones and the voice of Alexa, its AI assistant.

The big picture: Updating popular products and expanding its range to car alarms and in-home drones, Amazon extended its lead in smart home devices and moved into new areas including cloud gaming and car security. The new offerings will also fuel criticism that the tech giant is helping equip a society built around surveillance.

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