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AP file photo

Here's one of the next things to watch now that Trumpcare is stalled: look for more states to set up their own reinsurance programs, and apply for special Obamacare waivers that could help them get federal funds. It's similar to the latest idea Republicans are considering to revive Trumpcare, but if Congress isn't going to get its act together, states have a lot more incentive to move on their own.

The back story:

  • The idea is to give health insurance companies extra funds if they get a lot of expensive patients so they don't have to raise premiums through the roof.
  • Alaska did it on its own to head off a 42 percent rate increase, and now it's applying for one of the waivers to get federal support to expand the program. Minnesota is about to launch its own program.
  • "I'd venture to say that half the states know about it and are considering it," said Joel Ario, managing director of Manatt Health and a member of the Axios board of experts.
  • Another reason the idea could take off: Health and Human Services secretary Tom Price is actively encouraging it. He invited states last month to apply for Obamacare "state innovation waivers," which free them from some of the law's rules if they can cover people in different ways.
  • One idea he singled out: "high-risk pool/state-operated reinsurance programs."

Bottom line: "It's one of the few bipartisan things out there," Ario said.

Go deeper

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas case, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's ban on abortions after 15 weeks.

Officials warn 5 key tech sectors will determine whether China overtakes U.S.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. intelligence officials responsible for protecting advanced technologies have narrowed their focus to five key sectors: artificial intelligence, quantum computing, biotechnology, semiconductors and autonomous systems.

Why it matters: China and Russia are employing a variety of legal and illegal methods to undermine and overtake U.S. dominance in these critical industries, officials warned in a new paper. Their success will determine "whether America remains the world’s leading superpower or is eclipsed by strategic competitors."

5 hours ago - Health

Pfizer says COVID vaccine over 90% effective in kids

Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech said their COVID-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective at protecting children between the ages of 5 and 11 from symptomatic infections from the virus, according to a study posted online by the FDA Friday.

Why it matters: Pfizer is seeking an emergency use authorization to vaccinate children — one of the last groups of Americans still largely ineligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine.