Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Wellness programs that reward people for exercising or stopping smoking are common in employer plans, and soon they will be an option in individual health plan marketplaces, the Trump administration said in a bulletin yesterday.

The big picture: 10 states will get to experiment with wellness programs in their Affordable Care Act markets, and they generally have to comply with federal rules for employer wellness programs.

  • That means, among other things, participants cannot receive a discount on their coverage of more than 30% of their premiums. Health insurers also must have "reasonable alternative standards" for sick or disabled people who can't do the program.

The bottom line: We've said this before, but we'll say it again. All reputable evidence has concluded wellness programs don't lower costs, don't improve people's health, and raise legal and privacy concerns.

Go deeper: Study shows a workplace wellness program didn't do much

Go deeper

20 Republican former U.S. attorneys endorse Biden, call Trump "a threat to the rule of law"

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Twenty Republican former U.S. Attorneys on Tuesday endorsed Joe Biden while saying that "President Trump's leadership is a threat to rule of law" in the U.S., the Washington Post reports.

What they're saying: In the letter, the former prosecutors criticize Trump's use of the Department of Justice, saying the president expects the DOJ to "to serve his personal and political interests."

  • "He has politicized the Justice Department, dictating its priorities along political lines and breaking down the barrier that prior administrations had maintained between political and prosecutorial decision-making," the letter says.
Updated 42 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Axios-Ipsos poll: Federal response has only gotten worse — The swing states where the pandemic is raging.
  2. Health: The coronavirus is starting to crush some hospitals — 13 states set single-day case records last week.
  3. Business: Winter coronavirus threat spurs new surge of startup activity.
  4. Media: Pandemic causes cable and satellite TV providers to lose the most subscribers ever.
  5. States: Nearly two dozen Minnesota COVID cases traced to 3 Trump campaign events.
  6. World: Unrest in Italy as restrictions grow across Europe.

Ted Cruz defends GOP's expected return to prioritizing national debt

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told "Axios on HBO" on Monday that he wishes reining in the national debt was a higher priority for President Trump.

Why it matters: Trump pledged during the 2016 campaign to reduce the national debt and eliminate it entirely within eight years, though he also deemed himself "the king of debt" and said there were some priorities that required spending. In the fiscal year that ended in September, the deficit reached a record $3.1 trillion.

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