Mar 1, 2017

Trump's Obamacare message: Don't blow this

Jim Lo Scalzo / AP

President Trump laid out a pretty general blueprint for Obamacare replacement last night — mostly tracking with the draft House Republican plan, but with a few new twists, like lower drug costs and a hint of tort reform. (Here's what I wrote about it.) But his real message to Congress was: Don't screw this up.

That's why he specifically mentioned tax credits. It was an un-Trumpian thing to talk about, but it was his way of poking the conservative hardliners in the ribs and warning them not to tank the repeal effort. They're complaining that refundable tax credits, the kind that are in the draft House bill, would be basically like a new entitlement. (If you were reading the Axios health care news stream yesterday, you knew Trump would mention the tax credits because Jonathan Swan and Caitlin Owens told you.)

Good luck with that: Trump probably didn't turn it around with one speech. Both Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, two of the Senate hardliners who don't like the draft bill, were still tweeting about #FullRepeal after the speech. And some didn't take the hint: "What I heard Trump say was something very similar to what Sen. Paul and I introduced." said Rep. Mark Sanford, who wrote the Obamacare replacement bill the conservatives prefer, per Politico.

The one thing Trump didn't do: He didn't help Republicans solve their biggest problems — like how to cover people with pre-existing conditions without Obamacare's individual mandate, and how exactly he wants them to lower drug costs.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 874,081 — Total deaths: 43,291 — Total recoveries: 185,194.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 189,633 — Total deaths: 4,081 — Total recoveries: 7,136.
  3. Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index: It's "a tale of two Americas" — as the rich are more likely to work from home and the poor are more likely to report to work.
  4. Federal government latest: President Trump said the next two weeks would be "very painful," with projections indicating the virus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans.
  5. Coronavirus in custody: Inmates in all federal prisons are set to enter a 14-day quarantine on April 1.
  6. 2020 updates: Joe Biden said it's "hard to envision" the Democratic National Convention going ahead as planned in July.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Americans feel better about their finances after coronavirus stimulus

Data: Axios/Ipsos survey, margin of error ranges from ±5 to ±9 percentage points; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Americans have become more optimistic about the state of their finances in the last week, a new survey from Axios and Ipsos shows.

The state of play: While some remain worried, particularly those at the lower end of the economic spectrum, the data shows people are more confident about the security of their jobs and ability to take care of expenses after the passage of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act.

Trump's new dark, dire coronavirus outlook

Photo: Chris Kleponis/Polaris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Never has President Trump looked and sounded so somber and downbeat as he did at dinnertime yesterday as walked America through the "very, very painful" days of death ahead. 

Why it matters ... It was a moment the history books won’t forget: Trump, who a week ago was talking about an Easter-time return to work, warned in grim detail of the potential for 100,000 to 240,000 deaths.