Jan 24, 2017

Tom Price: I'll implement Obamacare until Congress repeals it

(Andrew Harnik / AP)

Health and Human Services nominee Tom Price suggested Tuesday he would keep implementing Obamacare until Congress passes and implements a replacement.

"Our commitment is to carry out the law of the land," Price said during an exchange with Democratic Sen. Mark Warner about how he'd apply President Trump's executive order. He also declared that "a replacement, a reform, an improvement of the program I believe is imperative to be instituted simultaneously," when asked whether he'd use the executive order to eliminate the law's individual mandate.

Between the lines: Price's answer was vague, and it doesn't mean he would do nothing to relax the law. There are a lot of executive actions he could take on his own, such as granting more waivers from the individual mandate. But Warner's question was whether Price would use the executive order to bypass the law completely — and Price has now made it clear that he won't do that.

Yes, but: Price's statement won't answer all of the questions many still have about his intentions. ""It doesn't tell us anything about how the executive order will be implemented," said Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation. "The real question is what, within the law, these agencies will end up doing."

Go deeper

Coronavirus spreads to more countries, and South Korea ups its case count

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 on Friday to 433 on Saturday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,362 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins

Bernie Sanders rallies in Las Vegas, Nevada on Feb. 21. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Center-left think tank Third Way urgently called on the Democratic front-runners of the 2020 presidential election to challenge Sen. Bernie Sanders on the South Carolina debate stage on Feb. 25, in a memo provided to Axios' Mike Allen on Saturday.

What they're saying: "At the Las Vegas debate ... you declined to really challenge Senator Sanders. If you repeat this strategy at the South Carolina debate this week, you could hand the nomination to Sanders, likely dooming the Democratic Party — and the nation — to Trump and sweeping down-ballot Republican victories in November."

Situational awareness

A combine in Rippey, Iowa harvests soybeans in October 2019. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Catch up on today's biggest news:

  1. U.S. soybean stockpiles expected to drop as exports rebound, USDA says
  2. Warren Buffett releases annual letter, reassures investors about future of Berkshire Hathaway
  3. Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins
  4. Reports: Facebook offers up to $5 for voice recordings
  5. Greyhound bars immigration sweeps