Doctors prepare an operating room. Photo: Arne Dedert/picture alliance via Getty Images

The Trump administration on Friday eased up on groups of hospitals and doctors called "accountable care organizations," which were created by the Affordable Care Act, in a regulation that will allow those companies to retain more money if they hold Medicare costs down and keep patient quality high.

The bottom line: The agency that oversees Medicare is still requiring these networks to take on more financial risk. But it's now backpedaling from some of the proposed rules, and as a result, it expects fewer hospitals and doctors to leave the program.

The details: Next year, the federal government will still push groups of hospitals and doctors to both keep savings from lower Medicare spending and pay out financial penalties back to the government if they spend above Medicare's targets.

  • However, some groups can still apply to only keep savings, and the amount of savings those groups can retain (40%) will be larger than what was proposed (25%).
  • Companies will also have an extra year before they have to switch to a program that includes penalties.
  • Medicare expects the rule will save the federal government $2.9 billion over the next 10 years.

Yes, but: Accountable care organizations are saving money, but the savings are very low relative to the size of what Medicare spends every year.

Go deeper: Today's full 957-page rule.

Go deeper

25 mins ago - Health

Pelosi: Birx "enabled" Trump on coronavirus misinformation

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNN on Monday she does not have confidence in White House coronavirus task force coordinator Deborah Birx because "she has enabled" President Trump to spread coronavirus misinformation.

What she's saying: "I don't have confidence in anyone who stands there while the president says, 'Swallow Lysol and it's going to cure your virus,'" Pelosi told host Jim Scuitto.

32 mins ago - Technology

Google launches $349 Pixel 4a

Google

Google on Monday launched its long-expected Pixel 4a, a $349 device that brings key features of the company's flagship smartphone to a more affordable price point.

Why it matters: Google saw surprisingly strong demand for last year's "a" model and having a broader range of products allows the company to reach more parts of the market.

A wild weekend for Microsoft's play for TikTok

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

While its Big Tech rivals were testifying in front of a congressional antitrust committee last week, Microsoft was negotiating what could be the largest — and most politically perilous — tech acquisition of 2020.

The state of play: The hullabaloo surrounding Microsoft picking up TikTok has undergone a flurry of twists and turns over the weekend, as both the White House and the tech giant reacted in real time.