Jul 20, 2017

Watchdog group sues for administration letter to Freedom Caucus

C.B. Schmelter/Chattanooga Times Free Press via AP

A watchdog group is suing the Trump administration to force the release of a letter to the House Freedom Caucus that might have outlined the regulatory steps the administration can take to loosen the Affordable Care Act's insurance rules. The lawsuit, to be filed by American Oversight in federal district court this afternoon, seeks the release of a March 23 letter administration officials reportedly gave to the Freedom Caucus to win its support for the House's health care bill, one day before leadership pulled that bill from the floor.

Why it matters: If the letter does exist — and if the group wins its release under the Freedom of Information Act — it could shed light on what kind of regulatory flexibility the Department of Health and Human Services thinks it can provide without any legislative changes. And that could be relevant if the Senate can't revive the stalled ACA repeal-and-replace bill, because then HHS would be sure to pursue those regulatory changes on its own.

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World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

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By the numbers: Brazil on Monday recorded for the first time more deaths from the novel coronavirus in a single day than the United States, Reuters notes. Brazil reported 807 deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, compared to 620 in the U.S. for the same period.

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Michigan governor won't apologize for coronavirus lockdown

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The big picture: Whitmer, who has been a frequent target of President Trump, insisted that she had to act in the face of a lack of federal leadership — and that thousands more people in her state would have died without the lockdown.