May 19, 2017

Trump doesn't want to fund Affordable Care Act insurer subsidies

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals

(Susan Walsh / AP)

President Trump has told advisers he wants to stop paying Affordable Care Act insurer subsidies, Politico reports. Without funding from the administration, exchanges could fall into chaos as insurers raise premiums or pull out of the markets. A lawsuit, brought by the House against the Obama administration, over the legality of the payments is currently pending.

Trump has said he thinks ending the payments will force Democrats to negotiate an ACA replacement. But some of his aides are worried Republicans would be blamed for intense market instability, as insurers may pull out or drastically raise premiums in response to not being paid.

What we're watching: The administration and the House are due for a check-in on the lawsuit on Monday. The case could continue to be delayed and appealed, or the administration could drop the case — meaning funding would stop.

Go deeper

HBCUs are missing from the discussion on venture capital's diversity

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Venture capital is beginning a belated conversation about its dearth of black investors and support of black founders, but hasn't yet turned its attention to the trivial participation of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) as limited partners in funds.

Why it matters: This increases educational and economic inequality, as the vast majority of VC profits go to limited partners.

Unemployment rate falls to 13.3% in May

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 13.3% in May, with 2.5 million jobs gained, the government said on Friday.

Why it matters: The far better-than-expected numbers show a surprising improvement in the job market, which has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.

The difficulty of calculating the real unemployment rate

Data: U.S. Department of Labor; Note: Initial traditional state claims from the weeks of May 23 and 30, continuing traditional claims from May 23. Initial PUA claims from May 16, 23, and 30, continuing PUA and other programs from May 16; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The shocking May jobs report — with a decline in the unemployment rate to 13.3% and more than 2 million jobs added — destroyed expectations of a much worse economic picture.

Why it matters: Traditional economic reports have failed to keep up with the devastation of the coronavirus pandemic and have made it nearly impossible for researchers to determine the state of the U.S. labor market or the economy.