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

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 1,187,798 — Total deaths: 64,084 — Total recoveries: 245,949Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 301,902 — Total deaths: 8,175 — Total recoveries: 14,505Map.
  3. Public health latest: CDC launches national trackers and recommends face coverings in public. Federal government will cover costs of COVID-19 treatment for uninsured. The virus is hitting poor, minority communities harder and upending childbirth.
  4. 2020 latest: "We have no contingency plan," Trump said on the 2020 Republican National Convention. "We're having the convention at the end of August."
  5. Business updates: Restaurants step up for health care workers. Employees are pressuring companies to provide protections during coronavirus. America's small business bailout off to bad start.
  6. Oil latest: Monday meeting among oil-producing countries to discuss supply curbs is reportedly being delayed amid tensions between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
  7. Education update: Many college-age students won't get coronavirus relief checks.
  8. 1 🏀 thing: The WNBA postpones start of training camps and season.
  9. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. 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.

U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll surpasses 8,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Recorded deaths from the coronavirus surpassed 8,000 in the U.S. on Saturday afternoon, per Johns Hopkins data. The death toll in the U.S. has risen over 1,000 every day for the past four days, since April 1.

The big picture: As expected, COVID-19 death tolls are rising in the U.S. The CDC is recommending Americans wear face coverings in public to help stop the spread, marking a significant change in messaging from the Trump administration.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates: Spain tracks more cases than Italy

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

Spain overtook Italy in its number of coronavirus cases on Saturday. The global death toll has surpassed 62,000, per Johns Hopkins data.

The latest: About half the planet's population is on lockdown amid the coronavirus crisis. Fatalities are exponentially increasing across Europe, with roughly half of deaths worldwide located in Italy and Spain.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health