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Source: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

President Trump's decision to withdraw the rule that would've overhauled behind-the-scenes drug rebates led to huge stock gains yesterday for health insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers, which have suffered since the rule was first proposed in January.

The big picture: The health care industry's largest middlemen dodged a giant bullet since rebates are an important part of their businesses. But they are not out of danger, as states and Congress are working to change how they influence the price of drugs.

Driving the news: Cigna, which recently bought Express Scripts for $67 billion, surged the most of any health insurer with a 9% boost in its stock price Thursday.

  • Anthem, Humana, CVS and UnitedHealth Group all picked up a lot of ground as well.

Between the lines: The rebate rule raised fears that drugmakers would engage in "tacit collusion," as Northwestern University health economist Craig Garthwaite recently wrote.

  • That plus the imminent threat health insurers and PBMs would raise drug premiums allowed the industry to escape any changes to a system that many believe is flawed.

Yes, but: PBMs have already faced new state regulations and still could run up against seismic changes at the federal level.

  • A new Senate bill would eliminate the practice of "spread pricing" and would require every rebate dollar to flow back to employers.

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Updated 23 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 20,724,799 — Total deaths: 751,399— Total recoveries: 12,873,188Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 5,234,800 — Total deaths: 166,750 — Total recoveries: 1,755,225 — Total tests: 63,731,305Map.
  3. Politics: House Democrats to investigate scientist leading "Operation Warp Speed" vaccine projectMcConnell announces Senate will not hold votes until Sept. 8 unless stimulus deal is reached.
  4. 2020: Biden calls for 3-month national mask mandateBiden and Harris to receive coronavirus briefings 4 times a week.
  5. States: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to drop lawsuit over Atlanta's mask mandate.
  6. Business: Why the CARES Act makes 2020 the best year for companies to lose money.
  7. Public health: Cases are falling, but don't get too comfortable.

Axios-SurveyMonkey poll: Harris boosting Biden ticket with key voters

Data: SurveyMonkey poll of 2,847 U.S. adults conducted Aug. 11–12, 2020 with ±3% margin of error; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Kamala Harris is accomplishing what Joe Biden's campaign hoped she would in her first two days as his running mate — doing no harm, while exciting parts of the base with whom Biden needs the most help.

The big picture: Black women especially, but also Black men, Hispanics and Democrats and independents across the board say they are more likely to vote for Biden with Harris on the ticket, according to a new Axios-SurveyMonkey poll.

55 mins ago - Technology

Epic sues Apple over developer tax as Fortnite is pulled from App Store

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Fortnite maker Epic Games on Thursday escalated its battle over Apple's App Store tactics, suing the tech giant over antitrust claims while also baiting Apple into dropping Fortnite from the App Store.

The big picture: Epic is just one of several developers clashing with Apple. They argue the company harms competition by taking a cut of up to 30% on in-app purchases and subscriptions and blocking most developers from getting around the tax by charging their users directly.