Nevit Dilmen / Wikimedia Commons

Large medical device companies and orthopedic surgeons are encouraging Department of Health and Human Services secretary Tom Price to lock in a proposal in which Medicare would pay significantly more for ankle replacement surgeries. The ankle industry's heft is almost certain to make the pay raise official once the final rule is released within the next month.

Why it matters: The first Medicare payment rule overseen by Price, an orthopedic surgeon by training, would steer millions of extra dollars toward his physician colleagues as well as medical device firms that make the screws, implants and other components of ankle replacement surgeries.

The proposal: Clinical advisers at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said Medicare should pay more for total ankle replacements in 2018 by moving those surgeries into a higher-paying Medicare code. Average base payment rates for ankle surgeries would increase by 50%, to more than $22,000. Private insurers often follow Medicare's lead and could feel pressured to pay more for the procedures.

What they're saying: The proposal is getting full-throated support from medical device companies that make ankle surgery products, including Stryker, Wright Medical Group and Integra LifeSciences. The Advanced Medical Technology Association and Medical Device Manufacturers Association, two big lobbying groups for medical device manufacturers, and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons also urged the federal government to finalize the pay raise.

Doctors and device companies have wanted this change for several years and now are on the brink of getting it with Price and CMS Administrator Seema Verma at the helm. The rule likely will come out no later than the beginning of August.

Go deeper

Virtual Emmys address chaotic year for American TV and society

Emmy Host Jimmy Kimmel during rehearsals Friday for the 72nd Annual Emmy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Photo: Al Seib/ Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The Emmy Awards Sunday night addressed the major U.S. issues this year — including the protests on systemic racism and police brutality, the wildfires engulfing parts of the West Coast, the census, the pandemic, essential works and the election.

Why it matters: Award shows have always addressed wider cultural issues, but this year — amid unprecedented stress and uncertainty — that trend has accelerated.

Updated 47 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 p.m. ET: 30,919,638 — Total deaths: 959,332— Total recoveries: 21,152,996Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30p.m. ET: 6,799,141 — Total deaths: 199,474 — Total recoveries: 2,590,671 — Total tests: 95,108,559Map.
  3. Politics: Testing czar on Trump's CDC contradictions: "Everybody is right" Ex-FDA chief: Career scientists won't be "easily cowed" by political vaccine pressure.
  4. Education: What we overlooked in the switch to remote learning.
  5. Health: The dwindling chances of eliminating COVID-19 — 7 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week.
  6. World: England sets £10,000 fine for breaking self-isolation rules — The countries painting their pandemic recoveries green.

Arrest over letter to Trump containing poison ricin

President Trump returning to the White House from Minnesota on Sept. 18. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

A suspect was arrested for allegedly "sending a suspicious letter" after law enforcement agents intercepted an envelope addressed to President Trump containing the poison ricin, the FBI confirmed in an emailed statement to Axios Sunday.

Details: The suspect, a woman, was arrested while trying to enter New York from Canada, law enforcement forces said.