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Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said President Trump doesn't know what's in the health care deal. Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP

The Trump administration rejected Democrats' proposals to prevent a windfall for insurance companies as part of the Senate's bipartisan health care bill, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said today. He said Democrats wanted to delay the enrollment window so insurers could recalculate their premiums rather than sit on extra cash — but that the Trump administration nixed the idea.

Why it matters: Schumer essentially said that the administration opposed a policy that would have helped address the president's complaints about "insurer bailouts."

The issue: Insurance companies in most states have already finalized their premiums for 2018, and most of them are charging higher premiums because they assumed they wouldn't be receiving federal payments for the Affordable Care Act's cost-sharing reductions. The compromise bill from Sens. Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray would restore those payments — on top of the extra premium dollars insurers are already locked into.

What the bill does: Insurers that charged higher premiums because they assumed they wouldn't receive the CSR payments would have to return the extra premium revenues to consumers and the federal government.

  • Giving insurers time to recalculate new premiums, with the knowledge they would be receiving the CSR payments, would have made this "double dipping" prevention unnecessary.
  • "The money does not go to the insurance companies...we demanded it. Both sides," Schumer said.

How it happened: Schumer said Sen. Lamar Alexander, the GOP author of the bill, was fine with the idea personally but rejected it because of White House opposition. A senior GOP aide said that isn't true, calling the proposal to delay open enrollment "ridiculous" and saying that Alexander immediately rejected it.

  • "We're two weeks away from open season," the aide said, "and not passing anything this week or next week."

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring hazards ranging from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow, to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Contact tracing fizzles across America — New clues emerge on long COVID — Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Virginia AG says public colleges can't mandate COVID vaccines —Alaska governor joins Texas lawsuit over National Guard vaccine mandate — Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum — White House: 60M households have ordered free COVID-19 rapid tests.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker
6 hours ago - World

Biden will move U.S. troops to Eastern Europe "in the near term"

President Biden boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews on Jan. 28. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said on Friday he plans to move U.S. troops to Eastern European and NATO countries “in the near term.”

Driving the news: “Not too many” U.S. troops, Biden added in remarks to reporters at Joint Base Andrew upon returning from a trip to Pennsylvania.