U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Under the leadership of then-Secretary Tom Price, the Department of Health and Human Services substantially rolled back mandatory pilot programs. But Price isn’t the boss any more, and mandatory demonstration programs are back.

How it works: HHS is on a perpetual quest to change the way Medicare pays for care. One leading part of that effort involves bundling together the many individual payments Medicare would normally make for a one procedure.

  • Because that model hasn’t been perfected yet, and because the whole idea here is to save Medicare money — which means paying out less in reimbursements — it’s not always easy to get doctors on board voluntarily.

“Real experimentation ... requires a willingness to try mandatory models. We know they are the most effective way to know whether these bundles can successfully save money and improve quality,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar said yesterday.

  • “We need results, American patients need change, and when we need mandatory models to deliver it, mandatory models are going to see a comeback,” he said.

The bottom line: Providers won’t be happy. But people who want to reform the delivery system will be.

Go deeper

Former officer who shot Breonna Taylor indicted on wanton endangerment

A memorial to Breonna Taylor in downtown Louisville, Kentucky on Sept. 23. Photo: Jeff Dean/AFP via Getty Images

A grand jury has indicted Brett Hankison, one of the Louisville police officers who entered Breonna Taylor's home in March and shot her at least eight times, on three counts of wanton endangerment.

The state of play: None of the three officers involved in the botched drug raid will face charges related to the actual death of Taylor, such as homicide or manslaughter. The two other officers, Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, were not charged at all. Hankison's bond was set at $15,000.

FDA chief vows agency will not accept political pressure on coronavirus vaccine

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn promised that "science will guide our decision" for a coronavirus vaccine at a Senate hearing on Wednesday.

Why it matters: More Americans are expressing doubt about a first-generation vaccine, despite President Trump's efforts to push an unrealistic timeline that conflicts with medical experts in his administration.

CEO confidence rises for the first time in over 2 years

Data: Business Roundtable; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

A closely-watched CEO economic confidence index rose for the first time after declining for nine straight quarters, according to a survey of 150 chief executives of the biggest U.S. companies by trade group Business Roundtable.

Why it matters: The index, which still remains at a decade low, reflects corporate America's expectations for sales, hiring and spending — which plummeted amid uncertainty when the pandemic hit.

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