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AP file photo

UnitedHealth Group's revenue jumped 9% annually to $48.7 billion in the first quarter of 2017, even though it withdrew from nearly all of the Obamacare marketplaces, and its profit soared 35% to almost $2.2 billion. Most of the growth at the health care conglomerate is coming from taxpayer-funded insurance programs (Medicare Advantage and Medicaid) as well as from its services arm, Optum.

UnitedHealth also really wants tax reform: Specifically, the company wants permanent repeal of Obamacare's health insurance tax, which Congress suspended for 2017. UnitedHealth CEO Stephen Hemsley said on an earnings call Tuesday that Congress needed to act before the tax "further worsens consumers' premiums, state budgets and seniors' benefits." Repealing the tax would lower consumers' health care premiums, but it's also one of the easiest ways for insurance companies to juice earnings per share, which funnels money back to shareholders and top executives.

Go deeper

Kevin McCarthy's rude awakening

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Kevin McCarthy is learning you can get torched when you try to make everyone happy, especially after an insurrection.

Why it matters: The House Republican leader had been hoping to use this year to build toward taking the majority in 2022, but his efforts to bridge intra-party divisiveness over the Capitol siege have him taking heat from every direction, eroding his stature both with the public and within his party.

The next big political war: redistricting

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democrats are preparing a mix of tech and legal strategies to combat expected gerrymandering by Republicans, who are planning to go on legal offense themselves.

Why it matters: Democrats failed to regain a single state legislature on Election Day, while Republicans upped their control to 30 states' Houses and Senates. In the majority of states, legislatures draw new congressional district lines, which can boost a party's candidates for the next decade.

33 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Vaccinations, relief timing dominate Sweet 16 call

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) speaks during a news conference in December with a group of bipartisan lawmakers. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Vaccine distribution, pandemic data and a cross-party comity dominated today's virtual meeting between White House officials and a bipartisan group of 16 senators, Senator Angus King told Axios.

Why it matters: Given Democrats' razor-thin majority in both chambers of Congress, President Biden will have to rely heavily on this group of centrist lawmakers — dubbed the "Sweet 16" — to pass any substantial legislation.