Photo: Aytug Can Sencar/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Medicare is considering paying for acupuncture, which would be a controversial move, the Washington Post reports.

What's happening: The change would be part of a push to provide alternative, non-pharmacologic ways to address chronic pain amid the opioid crisis. Coverage would be only for chronic low-back pain.

  • Acupuncture proponents note its safety and say that it's worth covering even if it only works for some people.

Yes, but: There's research showing that in many cases, acupuncture isn't much more effective than a placebo.

  • "The whole thing is a big scam," Steven Novella, an assistant professor at the Yale School of Medicine, told the Post.

Go deeper: The states using medical marijuana for opioid substitutes

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1 hour ago - Sports

Big Ten's conference-only move could spur a regionalized college sports season

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Big Ten announced Thursday that it will move all fall sports to a conference-only schedule.

Why it matters: This will have a snowball effect on the rest of the country, and could force all Power 5 conferences to follow suit, resulting in a regionalized fall sports season.

The second jobs apocalypse

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

This week, United Airlines warned 36,000 U.S. employees their jobs were at risk, Walgreens cut more than 4,000 jobs, Wells Fargo announced it was preparing thousands of terminations this year, and Levi's axed 700 jobs due to falling sales.

Why it matters: We have entered round two of the jobs apocalypse. Those announcements followed similar ones from the Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott and Choice hotels, which all have announced thousands of job cuts, and the bankruptcies of more major U.S. companies like 24 Hour Fitness, Brooks Brothers and Chuck E. Cheese in recent days.

Big Tech marshals a right-leaning army of allies for antitrust fight

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

As tech's giants prepare to face off with antitrust enforcers this summer, they will draw support from an array of predominantly right-leaning defenders ranging from influential former government officials to well-connected think tanks.

The big picture: The Justice Department, the Federal Trade Commission and the states have multiple investigations of monopolistic behavior underway targeting Facebook and Google, with other giants like Amazon and Apple also facing rising scrutiny. Many observers expect a lawsuit against Google to land this summer.