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Hip Prosthesis, Surgery X-rays. Photo: BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Medicare is proposing to start paying for total hip replacement surgeries in outpatient surgery centers next year, meaning patients can go home the same day they get the procedure instead of having to stay overnight in a hospital.

Why it matters: Medicare spent roughly $6.5 billion on hospitalizations tied to hip and knee replacements in 2016. There’s a push to move more of those costly procedures into surgery centers because patients could recover at home and it’s cheaper to do as an outpatient.

Between the lines: Many patients with commercial insurance get new hips and knees in surgery centers instead of hospitals. Medicare started allowing knee replacements to occur in outpatient centers in 2018, and officials have contemplated doing the same with hip replacements since then — so this was just a matter of time.

  • Hospitals aren’t thrilled about this shift because these surgeries are more lucrative in the inpatient setting. 
  • There’s also concern about whether Medicare patients, who usually are older and more frail, need extra recovery time before going home.

Yes, but: Surgery centers and orthopedic surgeons naturally love this because they’ll get a ton of new Medicare patients, and the revenue that comes along with it.

  • And hospitals have been hedging this trend for years by acquiring orthopedic surgery centers and physician groups.

Go deeper: Hospital joint replacement prices are all over the board

Go deeper

Ro Khanna accuses Biden of quitting Middle East

Rep. Ro Khanna. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile for Web Summit via Getty Images

An outspoken progressive Democrat is wary of President Biden’s approach to the Middle East, arguing it’s like “conceding defeat of the aspiration” to win a Nobel Peace Prize.

Why it matters: A number of members of Biden’s own party dislike his Middle East strategy, as his administration signals the region is no longer the priority it was for President Obama and his predecessors.

Democrats eye reconciliation for immigration

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Comprehensive immigration reform is a pipe dream, but some Senate Democrats are hoping to tie key immigration provisions to the next big reconciliation push.

Why it matters: Immigration is one of the most controversial and partisan issues in U.S. politics, which is why the budget reconciliation process — which allows for bills to pass the Senate with a simple majority rather than the usual 60 votes — is so attractive.

12 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Biden meeting Quad amid own pivot toward Asia

Artists paint portraits of President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in Mumbai, India. Photo: Anshuman Poyrekar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

President Biden plans to meet this month with the leaders of Japan, Australia and India in a virtual summit of the so-called Quad, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: By putting a Quad meeting on the president’s schedule, the White House is signaling the importance of partnerships and alliances to counter China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region.