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Home health companies dodged a major future pay cut. Photo: Darron Cummings / AP

The stocks of publicly traded home health companies soared Thursday after the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services tossed out a controversial new payment system that would have cut Medicare payments to home health providers by $1 billion in 2019.

Between the lines: This is yet another example of health care's lobbying power. The home health industry hated Medicare's proposed pay system, talked with the right people, and consequently got what it wanted.

What happened: CMS said this week in the 2018 final rule that it will not move forward with a new payment system called the "home health groupings model." Home health companies have drawn scorn from independent policymakers for their lofty Medicare profit margins, and the new system was an attempt to reduce payments through shorter episodes of care. But now that groupings model "is dead and unlikely to reappear," Gary Taylor, a J.P. Morgan health care analyst, wrote Thursday.

The winners: Stock prices of home health companies Almost Family (up 26%), Amedisys (up 14%), Kindred Healthcare (up 7%) and LHC Group (up 10%) soared Thursday on the news.

Behind the scenes: This change didn't happen in a vacuum. Federal records show Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, held a teleconference last week with Amedisys CEO Paul Kusserow, Kindred CEO Ben Breier, Amedisys lobbyist Robb Walton (who works for Haley Barbour's lobbying firm, BGR Group) and other home health officials to chat about the final rule.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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Rep. Lou Correa tests positive for COVID-19

Lou Correa. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.) announced on Saturday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Correa is the latest Democratic lawmaker to share his positive test results after last week's deadly Capitol riot. Correa did not shelter in the designated safe zone with his congressional colleagues during the siege, per a spokesperson, instead staying outside to help Capitol Police.

Far-right figure "Baked Alaska" arrested for involvement in Capitol siege

Photo: Shay Horse/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The FBI arrested far-right media figure Tim Gionet, known as "Baked Alaska," on Saturday for his involvement in last week's Capitol riot, according to a statement of facts filed in the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia.

The state of play: Gionet was arrested in Houston on charges related to disorderly or disruptive conduct on the Capitol grounds or in any of the Capitol buildings with the intent to impede, disrupt, or disturb the orderly conduct of a session, per AP.