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Expand chart
Adapted from Zirui Song, 2019, "The Pricing of Care Under Medicare for AllImplications and Policy Choices"; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Many specialties would still take a pay cut even under versions of "Medicare for All" that aren't as full-throated as what Sen. Bernie Sanders has proposed, according to recent analysis in JAMA by Harvard's Zirui Song.

The big picture: This is a feature, not a bug, of Medicare for All. Part of the point is to spend less on health care — through steep cuts in how much many doctors and hospitals get paid.

Yes, but: The figures above represent the change in how much doctors would get paid for patients who currently have private insurance — not the pay total change across all of their patients.

  • Doctors are already receiving Medicare's lower rates for their patients who are on Medicare, and are in many cases getting paid less than that for Medicaid patients.

What they're saying: "The assumption that physicians and hospitals would not react as their commercial prices are reduced substantially to Medicare levels is likely unrealistic," Song writes.

  • Doctors and hospitals would likely to try to boost their reimbursements under a single-payer system using some of the same tools they lean on now: Performing more procedures, steering patients toward more profitable services, and consolidating independent doctors' practices within hospitals, which get paid more.
  • And without patient cost-sharing, people may demand more care.

The bottom line: Setting rates above Medicare levels would be less disruptive, as would phasing in the changes over time, Song argues.

Go deeper: Hospitals that treat poor patients aren't opposing Medicare for All

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Health

California surpasses 50,000 COVID-19 deaths

A man prepares a funeral arrangement in in Los Angeles, California, Feb. 12. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

California's death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 50,000 on Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: It's the first state to record more than 50,000 deaths from the coronavirus.

4 hours ago - Technology

Facebook bans Myanmar military

A protester holds a placard with a three-finger salute in front of a military tank parked aside the street in front of the Central Bank building during a demonstration in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo by Aung Kyaw Htet/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook said on Wednesday it would ban the rest of the Myanmar military from its platform.

The big picture: It comes some three weeks after the military overthrew the civilian government in a coup and detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi, causing massive protests to erupt throughout the country. Military leaders have been using internet blackouts to try to maintain power in light of the coup.

It's harder to fill the Cabinet

Data: Chamberlain, 2020, "United States of America Cabinet Appointments Dataset" Chart: Will Chase/Axios

It's harder now for presidents to win Senate confirmation for their Cabinet picks, an Axios data analysis of votes for and against nominees found.

Why it matters: It's not just Neera Tanden. The trend is a product of growing polarization, rougher political discourse and slimming Senate majorities, experts say. It means some of the nation's most vital federal agencies go without a leader and the legislative authority that comes with one.