AP file photo

Private health insurers and pharmacy benefit managers that sell Medicare Advantage and Part D plans will receive an average payment bump of 0.25% in 2018 from the federal government, according to new guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

When factoring in how health plans document and code the medical diagnoses of their seniors and disabled members, the average payment rate will go up by 2.75%. That medical coding has been the focus of some criticism, as a Center for Public Integrity investigation concluded that Medicare insurers are manipulating the process to gain more taxpayer revenue.

No shocking policy moves: The government also decided to keep the phased-in cuts to employer-based Medicare Advantage plans, which the industry has aggressively fought.

Between the lines: Although this is the Trump administration's first foray into Medicare policy, this notice was mostly crafted and prepared by the Obama administration. The final policies for 2018 Medicare Advantage and Part D, two of the fastest growing health care programs, will come out April 3.

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20 Republican former U.S. attorneys endorse Biden, call Trump "a threat to the rule of law"

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Twenty Republican former U.S. Attorneys on Tuesday endorsed Joe Biden while saying that "President Trump's leadership is a threat to rule of law" in the U.S., the Washington Post reports.

What they're saying: In the letter, the former prosecutors criticize Trump's use of the Department of Justice, saying the president expects the DOJ to "to serve his personal and political interests."

  • "He has politicized the Justice Department, dictating its priorities along political lines and breaking down the barrier that prior administrations had maintained between political and prosecutorial decision-making," the letter says.
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Ted Cruz defends GOP's expected return to prioritizing national debt

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told "Axios on HBO" on Monday that he wishes reining in the national debt was a higher priority for President Trump.

Why it matters: Trump pledged during the 2016 campaign to reduce the national debt and eliminate it entirely within eight years, though he also deemed himself "the king of debt" and said there were some priorities that required spending. In the fiscal year that ended in September, the deficit reached a record $3.1 trillion.