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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

Twitter debuts subscription products to help double revenue by 2023

Photo: Cole Burston/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Twitter said Thursday that it plans to increase the amount of money it makes off of its users by allowing them to pay creators directly for content they like.

Why it matters: The company is trying to broaden its revenue stream away from being dependent mostly on ads, and particularly on ads from big brands.

DHS directing $77 million to combat domestic violent extremism in states, cities

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

For the first time, states and localities will spend at least $77 million of Department of Homeland Security grant money on combatting domestic violent extremism, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced on Thursday.

Why it matters: Domestic terrorism has been on the rise in the U.S., spurred on by growing polarization and the mainstreaming of online conspiracy theories. In the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, Mayorkas has made fighting the problem a "National Priority Area."

Senate confirms former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm as energy secretary

Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

The Senate voted 64-35 on Thursday to confirm former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm as secretary of the Department of Energy.

Why it matters: Granholm, only the second woman to head the department, will play a key role in President Biden’s efforts to accelerate the U.S. shift to clean energy and help other countries do the same.