The number of procedures taking place in outpatient surgery centers — where people go under the knife and return home the same day — is expected to rise from 23 million in 2018 to 27 million in 2021, according to estimates from consulting firm Bain & Co.

Why it matters: Surgeries in freestanding centers cost less than those that happen in hospital outpatient departments, which is why many insurers and policymakers are pushing for this shift.

The big picture: But that doesn't mean it's an unprofitable niche. Surgery centers would generate $43 billion worth of procedures if those estimates hold up.

Between the lines: Medicare has made it clear it will pay for more surgeries, especially orthopedic procedures like joint replacements, outside of the hospital. Industry giants have been placing their bets on these facilities for years.

  • Health insurers: UnitedHealth Group bought Surgical Care Affiliates for $2.3 billion in 2017.
  • Hospitals: Tenet Healthcare and HCA Healthcare each own more than 120 surgery centers, and many not-for-profit hospitals own stakes in their local surgery centers.
  • Private equity firms: Bain Capital, the PE arm that was spun out of Bain & Co., owns two-thirds of Surgery Partners, a surgery center chain that's on pace to collect $1.7 billion of revenue this year.

Go deeper: Health care sees dollar signs in surgery centers

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Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Chris Christie: Wear a mask "or you may regret it — as I did" — Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted relief bill.
  2. Business: New state unemployment filings fall.
  3. Economy: Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet).
  4. Health: FDA approves Gilead's remdesivir as a coronavirus treatment How the pandemic might endMany U.S. deaths were avoidable.
  5. Education: Boston and Chicago send students back home for online learning.
  6. World: Spain and France exceed 1 million cases.

Early voting eclipses 2016 total with 12 days until election

People stand in line to vote early in Fairfax, Virginia in September. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Americans have cast more than 47.1 million ballots in the 2020 presidential election, surpassing the total early-vote count for 2016 with 12 days left until Election Day, according to a Washington Post analysis of voting data.

Why it matters: The election is already underway, as many states have expanded early and mail-in voting options because of the coronavirus pandemic.

What to expect from the final debate of the 2020 election

Trump and Biden at the first debate. Morry Gash-Pool/Getty Image

Watch for President Trump to address Joe Biden as “the big guy” or “the chairman” at tonight's debate as a way of dramatizing the Hunter Biden emails. Hunter's former business partner Tony Bobulinski is expected to be a Trump debate guest.

The big picture: Trump's advisers universally view the first debate as a catastrophe — evidenced by a sharp plunge in Trump’s public and (more convincingly for them) private polling immediately following the debate.