Mar 9, 2017

Trumpcare needs a game changer

Rebecca Zisser / Axios

Caitlin Owens stayed into the early morning hours at the Ways and Means markup of the Obamacare replacement bills, so you should definitely read her story here. Me? I went to sleep and got up early. Didn't miss a thing. The big question right now is: What would it actually take to stop the hemorrhaging of conservative support?

President Trump met with the leaders of conservative groups yesterday, and they seemed pleased to have face time with him. And House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Greg Walden insists the outreach will make a difference, telling reporters yesterday:

I think when the president of the United States who campaigned on repeal and replace says, 'This is the repeal and replace bill' ... the dynamic changes.

That might be wishful thinking, though. As Jonathan Swan and I reported yesterday, the conservatives want such major changes in the bill that a few more Trump meetings probably aren't going to change anything. They want to get rid of the refundable tax credits and end the Medicaid expansion, and they want more in the bill that would be specifically aimed at cutting people's health care costs. "It's not going to be cosmetic fixes," a Freedom Caucus aide told me.

That was underscored by the statement FreedomWorks president Adam Brandon put out after the Trump meeting. He said his group wants to "get to 'yes' on this bill," but look at the list of objections his group raised and see how easy you think the solutions would be:

  • The tax credit
  • The continuation of Medicaid expansion (until 2020)
  • The possibility that Congress will keep delaying the end date of Medicaid expansion
  • The "continuous coverage" provision that would penalize people who don't stay insured
  • The "remaining regulations in the bill"

Yes, but: The Trump team may give it a shot: CNN's Jim Acosta reports that the White House might be willing to move up the Medicaid reform start date to 2018 to appease the conservatives.

Nice try: House Speaker Paul Ryan used one of his best arguments at a meeting with House Republicans yesterday: If they don't pass the repeal bill quickly, it will delay their other priorities, like tax reform. That didn't change anything.

Go deeper

In photos: Authorities issue warning as Americans venture out for Memorial Day weekend

Venice Beach in Los Angeles on May 24. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

Authorities urged Americans to maintain social distancing and wear masks against the coronavirus amid reports of packed beaches and bars during the Memorial Day weekend.

Driving the news: Law enforcement stepped up beach patrols, authorities on Florida's Gulf Coast closed parking lots because they were full and there were crowded scenes at Lake of the Ozarks bars in Missouri, per AP, which reports a shooting injured several people at a packed Daytona Beach in Florida.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 5,405,029 — Total deaths: 344,997 — Total recoveries — 2,168,408Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 1,642,021 — Total deaths: 97,698 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,195Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil, coronavirus hotspot in Southern Hemisphere Over 100 coronavirus cases in Germany tied to single day of church services — Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports that he broke U.K. lockdown while exhibiting symptoms.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks headed into Memorial Day weekend Report finds "little evidence" coronavirus under control in most statesHurricanes, wildfires, the flu could strain COVID-19 response
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Public employees brace for layoffs.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Republicans sue California over mail-out ballot plan

California Gov. Gavin Newsom during a February news conference in Sacramento, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

President Trump accused Democrats of trying "Rig" November's general election as Republican groups filed a lawsuit against California Sunday in an attempt to stop Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) from mailing ballots to all registered voters.

Driving the news: Newsom signed an executive order this month in response to the coronavirus pandemic ensuring that all registered voters in the state receive a mail-in ballot.