Jan 30, 2017

Will Obamacare repeal get back on track?

Matt Rourke/AP

This week gives Republicans a chance to try to recover from last week's stumbles, which included a GOP retreat that didn't produce any clear consensus on an Obamacare replacement plan — but did produce a leaked recording of everyone arguing about it behind closed doors. There was also the Trump administration's attempt to shut down Obamacare outreach, partially dialed back on Friday so it's limited to $4 million to $5 million in TV and radio ads. (The official HealthCare.gov Twitter account is back to tweeting reminders to sign up.)

Couple of things to watch this week:

Will piecemeal work? It's clear that the House, at least, is starting with a bunch of smaller Obamacare replacement bills, with crucial details they're still working out. That's certainly the case with pre-existing conditions. Republicans are trying to shut down the talk that they don't have plans, but they don't have a ton of time to work out details if they want to meet their goal of a House vote by early March.

Will Obamacare enrollment recover? There won't be a total blackout of Obamacare outreach after all, but it's not clear how much that will help the signup effort. One way or another, open enrollment is ending under an administration that's hostile to the law. The message it sent by trying to stop outreach, according to Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation, is that it "seems more intent on accelerating the demise of the health law than on running the program effectively and keeping insurance markets stable."

Go deeper

Debate night: Candidates' last face-off before Super Tuesday

Sanders, Biden, Klobuchar and Steyer in South Carolina on Feb. 25. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders wanted to keep his momentum after winning contests in New Hampshire and Nevada, while former Vice President Joe Biden hoped to keep his own campaign alive. The other five candidates were just trying to hang on.

What's happening: Seven contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination were in Charleston, South Carolina, for the tenth debate, just days before the South Carolina primary and a week before Super Tuesday. They spoke, sometimes over each other, about health care, Russian interference in the election, foreign policy the economy, gun control, marijuana, education, and race.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

4 takeaways from the South Carolina debate

Former Vice President Joe Biden, right, makes a point during Tuesday's Democratic presidential debate, while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders listens. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The 10th Democratic debate was billed as the most consequential of the primary thus far, but Tuesday night's high-stakes affair was at times awkward and unfocused as moderators struggled to rein in candidates desperate to make one last splash before Saturday's primary in South Carolina and Super Tuesday.

The big picture: After cementing himself as the Democratic favorite with a sweeping win in Nevada, Sen. Bernie Sanders came under fire as the front-runner for the first time on the debate stage. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who will be on the ballot for the first time next Tuesday, was a progressive foil once again, but he appeared more prepared after taking a drubbing at the Nevada debate.

Coronavirus spreads to Africa as U.S. soldier in South Korea tests positive

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.

A 23-year-old American soldier stationed at Camp Carroll in South Korea has tested positive to the novel coronavirus, as the outbreak spreads to more countries.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected over 80,000 others, mostly in mainland China. Public health officials confirmed Tuesday the U.S. has 57 people with the novel coronavirus, mostly those repatriated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health