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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

What the White House billed yesterday as a high-profile counterpunch to “Medicare for All” turned out to be much less significant — a fairly normal, fairly vague policy statement with no real implications for 2020.

Between the lines: Trump is promoting Medicare Advantage over traditional Medicare, and that does matter for the program and the federal budget. But it’s not a new position and not one that has much to do with the broader debate over the American health care system.

What they're saying: "Proposals like Medicare for All, as well as the public options, are not just impractical, they are morally wrong because they would demote American seniors to little better than second-class status," Medicare and Medicaid administrator Seema Verma told reporters yesterday.

Reality check: Plenty of what the Trump administration has said is hyperbole, untrue or unknowable. And the policy the administration rolled out has little to do with these big-picture issues.

  • "I think this is the shapings of a political argument for why Medicare for All is bad, not an alternative to Medicare for All," said a health insurance executive familiar with GOP politics.

Details: Yesterday's executive order requires regulatory changes advantageous to Medicare Advantage, which is run by private insurers.

  • "This is not any radical change by the administration, just a continuation of their push to increase flexibilities in MA and increase the supplemental benefits offerings for beneficiaries," said Avalere's Chris Sloan.

Go deeper: How seniors are being steered toward private Medicare plans

Go deeper

Biden plans to ask public to wear masks for first 100 days in office

Joe Biden. Photo: Mark Makela/Gettu Images

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris sat down with CNN on Thursday for their first joint interview since the election.

The big picture: In the hour-long segment, the twosome laid out plans for responding to the pandemic, jump-starting the economy and managing the transition of power, among other priorities.

The quick FCC fix that would get more students online

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As the pandemic forces students out of school, broadband deployment programs aren't going to move fast enough to help families in immediate need of better internet access. But Democrats at the Federal Communications Commission say the incoming Biden administration could put a dent in that digital divide with one fast policy change.

State of play: An existing FCC program known as E-rate provides up to $4 billion for broadband at schools, but Republican FCC chairman Ajit Pai has resisted modifying the program during the pandemic to provide help connecting students at home.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

America's hidden depression

Biden introduces his pick for Treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, on Dec. 1. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President-elect Biden faces a fragile recovery that could easily fall apart, as the economy remains in worse shape than most people think.

Why it matters: There is a recovery happening. But it's helping some people immensely and others not at all. And it's that second part that poses a massive risk to the Biden-Harris administration's chance of success.

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