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 37 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 11,520,461 — Total deaths: 535,499 — Total recoveries — 6,231,052Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 2,911,888 — Total deaths: 130,101 — Total recoveries: 906,763 — Total tested: 35,515,075Map.
  3. Public health: Case growth outpacing testing in hotspots.
  4. States: West Virginia becomes latest state to mandate facial coverings in public.
  5. Politics: Cuomo accuses Trump of "enabling" the coronavirus surge — Sen. Chuck Grassley opts out of attending GOP convention over coronavirus concerns.

Trump ramps up culture war attacks

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

President Trump's attacks are spreading to sports that are cornerstones of rural, conservative white American life.

Why it matters: The culture war that engulfed the NBA and NFL is reaching other major leagues, with teams that stonewalled activists for years suddenly showing a willingness to listen.

Foreign students could be forced to leave U.S. if colleges move online

Harvard University campus in April 2020. Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Foreign college students could be forced to leave the U.S. or transfer schools if their universities move classes entirely online this fall, according to guidance released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Monday.

Why it matters: Several U.S. colleges and universities — most recently Harvard — have announced plans to move most or all courses online this fall due to coronavirus concerns. Many institutions rely heavily on tuition from international students.