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Hospitals are being accused of violating federal laws designed to keep financial considerations from influencing doctors' decisions, Kaiser Health News reports with The Daily Beast.

What's happening: Various lawsuits allege that hospitals are overpaying doctors or offering incentives like free office space in exchange for the downstream revenue that doctors create through referrals.

Background: It's illegal for doctors to refer patients for services that the doctor has a financial interest in, and for hospitals to pay doctors for referrals.

  • These measures are supposed to help keep costs down by discouraging doctors from using excessive, unnecessary health care.
  • The lawsuits are raising the question of whether financial arrangements like high doctor salaries count as illegal kickbacks.

The other side: One hospital facing a lawsuit said that the generous salaries that it gave doctors were the only way it could provide specialized care to local residents.

The bottom line: Lawsuits aside, there's no disputing that hospitals are gobbling up physician practices, the market is becoming more consolidated and doctors generate significant revenue for hospitals.

Go deeper: Doctors bring in a lot of money for hospitals

Go deeper

NRA files for bankruptcy, says it will reincorporate in Texas

Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association (NRA) speaks during CPAC in 2016. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The National Rifle Association said Friday it has filed for voluntary bankruptcy as part of a restructuring plan.

Driving the news: The gun rights group said it would reincorporate in Texas, calling New York, where it is currently registered, a "toxic political environment." Last year, New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit to dissolve the NRA, alleging the group committed fraud by diverting roughly $64 million in charitable donations over three years to support reckless spending by its executives.

41 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden: "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution

Joe Biden. Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden promised to invoke the Defense Production Act to increase vaccine manufacturing, as he outlined a five-point plan to administer 100 million COVID-19 vaccinations in the first months of his presidency.

Why it matters: With the Center for Disease Control and Prevention warning of a more contagious variant of the coronavirus, Biden is trying to establish how he’ll approach the pandemic differently than President Trump.

A new Washington

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Image

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said Friday that the city should expect a "new normal" for security — even after President-elect Biden's inauguration.

The state of play: Inaugurations are usually a point of celebration in D.C., but over 20,000 troops are now patrolling Washington streets in an unprecedented preparation for Biden's swearing-in on Jan. 20.