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A nurse manager sets up a hospital operating room. Photo: Craig F. Walker/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Medicare will pay hospitals $4.8 billion more in 2019, according to a final rule published Thursday by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. That's up from the $4 billion raise that was proposed in April.

The big picture: There's a lot of jargon to unpack in the rule, but hospitals will be mostly happy with the overall pay raise.

The intrigue: Within the higher payments, Medicare signed off on several other policies for the 2019 fiscal year.

  • CMS officially mandated all hospitals must publicly disclose the charges for their inpatient procedures online, starting January 1, 2019. This is technically only an update to an Affordable Care Act provision, and California already requires this. It's worth remembering these will be list prices, not the actual negotiated prices that health insurers pay hospitals.
  • The new, expensive cancer therapy called CAR-T, sold under the brand names of Kymriah and Yescarta, will be paid under an existing Medicare code with add-on payments of about $186,000. Cancer hospitals and the drug makers had lobbied for some kind of enhanced payment for the new treatment.
  • Because CMS now expects more uninsured people in the U.S., the agency raised supplemental payments to hospitals that treat more indigent patients.

Go deeper

25 mins ago - Health

FDA advisory panel endorses Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine for emergency use

Photo: Illustration by Cezary Kowalski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday recommended the authorization of Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot coronavirus vaccine for emergency use.

Why it matters: The FDA is expected to make a final decision within days on the J&J vaccine, which was found to be 66% effective against moderate to severe COVID. An emergency use authorization would allow distribution to immediately begin, helping streamline and speed up the vaccine rollout across the U.S.

Dave Lawler, author of World
27 mins ago - World

Schiff: "Definitive" Khashoggi report sends clear message to Saudis

Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images

The report released Friday on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was short on evidence or new information, but Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) tells Axios that the “definitive” statement assigning responsibility to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) speaks volumes.

What he’s saying: Schiff, the chairman of the House intelligence committee, says that while some intelligence couldn’t be published because of the need to protect sources and methods, “we rarely see something published that is this definitive and I think that's an important accomplishment for the administration.”

Exclusive: Law enforcement organizations back Biden pick for assistant AG

Vanita Gupta Photo: Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Local and federal law enforcement officials are backing Vanita Gupta, President Biden’s nominee for associate attorney general, according to letters sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee and obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: The Major County Sheriffs of America noted Gupta “emphasized that she does not support efforts to ‘defund the police'” and highlighted her desire to improve criminal justice through methods that include increased training for law enforcement officials.