Jul 1, 2017

WH plans for last-ditch effort to save health care

Susan Walsh / AP

Hail Mary, or Hindenburg? Either way, the White House recognizes it faces long odds to rescue the health-care bill as senators head home for the Fourth.

Axios' Jonathan Swan ferreted out the intriguing news that the White House has reached out to former Trump campaign officials in hopes of ginning up repeal-and-replace rallies in Maine to pressure Sen. Susan Collins, and Nevada to try to retrieve Sen. Dean Heller.

Both are long shots. Three Republican defections kill the bill, and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky also looks firmly opposed.

The White House has engaged its political office — led by former Christie aide Bill Stepien — to put localized pressure on Collins and Heller, including appeals from Republican mayors and legislators, and perhaps the rallies.

Sources inside the administration are deeply skeptical that this will work.

  • Behind the curtain: Stepien and HHS Secretary Tom Price joined a Thursday strategy meeting at the White House, led by congressional liaison Marc Short. The mood was bleak. Swan is told Price was the most optimistic person in the room.
  • The meeting's message: They weren't making much progress. Heller, Collins and Paul are the three biggest problems.
  • The day after: Both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue are looking at fallback options. Trump tweeted yesterday: "If Republican Senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!"

Sound smart: Momentum matters — in sports, in love and in politics. Momentum is all against the GOP.

  • Maybe Rs are lucky ... Paul Krugman column in N.Y. Times: "Losing health coverage is a nightmare, especially if you're older, have health problems and/or lack the financial resources to cope if illness strikes. And since Americans with those characteristics are precisely the people this legislation effectively targets, tens of millions would soon find themselves living this nightmare."
  • Steve Brill's "9 ways to really fix Obamacare": "Tort reform should be included."

Go deeper

What the U.S. can learn from other countries in the coronavirus fight

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Note: Cases are shown on a logarithmic scale; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The countries that have most successfully fended off the novel coronavirus have mainly done it with a combination of new technology and old-school principles.

Why it matters: There's a lot the U.S. can learn from the way other countries have handled this global pandemic — although we may not be able to apply those lessons as quickly as we'd like.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 640,589 — Total deaths: 29,848 — Total recoveries: 137,270.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 112,468 — Total deaths: 1,841 — Total recoveries: 918.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump is considering a quarantine on New York, parts of New Jersey and Connecticut. He signed a $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill to give businesses and U.S. workers economic relief.
  4. State updates: A group of Midwestern swing voters that supported President Trump's handling of the coronavirus less than two weeks ago is balking at his call for the U.S. to be "opened up" by Easter. Alaska is latest state to issue stay-at-home order — New York is trying to nearly triple its hospital capacity in less than a month. New York moved its presidential primary to June 23, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday.
  5. World updates: Italy reported 969 coronavirus deaths on Friday, the country's deadliest day. In Spain, over 1,300 people were confirmed dead between Thursday to Saturday.
  6. 🚀 Space updates: OneWeb filed for bankruptcy amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancing.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Trump considers quarantine for states near epicenter of U.S. coronavirus outbreak

President Trump speaks to the press on March 28 in Washington, DC. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

President Trump said on Saturday he is considering a "short term" quarantine of New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut — areas congruent with the New York metro area, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus in the U.S.

Reality check: These states have already taken steps to quarantine residents and promote social distancing to combat COVID-19. The governors of New York and New Jersey issued statewide stay-at-home orders last week, and non-essential businesses in Connecticut were ordered to close as of this Monday.