The American Medical Association's headquarters in Chicago. Photo: Bob Herman / Axios

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services responded to critics in its final physician payment rule for 2018 by saying the agency is "not relinquishing our obligation to independently establish" physician payment rates. CMS previously said it would rely almost entirely on a secretive panel of doctors convened by the American Medical Association to determine Medicare payments.

The bottom line: CMS clearly wanted to address the "concern and disappointment" of the health policy community, according to the rule, and said it will consult with other independent sources outside of the AMA's Relative Value Scale Update Committee, or RUC for short. But the RUC, a group with little public oversight that is tilted toward specialty physicians, will still wield substantial influence over how Medicare rates are developed.

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Updated 41 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1:30 p.m. ET: 32,919,487 — Total deaths: 995,352 — Total recoveries: 22,770,166Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 1:30 p.m. ET: 7,089,611 — Total deaths: 204,566 — Total recoveries: 2,750,459 — Total tests: 100,492,536Map.
  3. States: New York daily cases top 1,000 for first time since June — U.S. reports over 55,000 new coronavirus cases.
  4. Health: The long-term pain of the mental health pandemicFewer than 10% of Americans have coronavirus antibodies.
  5. Business: Millions start new businesses in time of coronavirus.
  6. Education: Summer college enrollment offers a glimpse of COVID-19's effect.

Biden on Supreme Court fight: "This is about whether or not the ACA will exist"

Joe Biden made health care the overwhelming focus of his remarks from Wilmington, Delaware, on Sunday, stressing that the Senate confirmation battle over Judge Amy Coney Barrett's nomination to the Supreme Court is about preserving the Affordable Care Act in the midst of a pandemic.

Why it matters: Democrats are aggressively pushing the message that Barrett, who has previously criticized Chief Justice John Roberts for his 2012 ruling salvaging the ACA, will seek to invalidate the law when the Supreme Court hears a Trump administration-backed lawsuit against it on Nov. 10.

McMaster: Trump's peaceful transition comments are a "gift to our adversaries"

President Trump's refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses November's presidential election is a "gift to our adversaries," Trump's former national security adviser H.R. McMaster said Sunday.

The big picture: McMaster, a retired three-star general, said that the American people must understand that the military will have "no role" in a presidential transition and that it's "irresponsible" to even talk about it as a possibility.

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