June 24, 2007 |
Tough trade-offs will be the topic early next year when Congress takes up Medicare reform. The nation's cornerstone health program for the elderly would normally be a taboo subject in an election year. But lawmakers have no choice. Why? When a drug benefit was added to Medicare in 2003 without an increase in revenue, Congress placed in the law a provision for a reform process that would be triggered if the system's finances became dire enough.
October 15, 2009 |
The battle over healthcare entered a new, more frenzied stage Wednesday, as lawmakers and powerful interest groups jockeyed for advantage now that most believe some form of an overhaul will ultimately be signed into law. The Senate Finance Committee's passage Tuesday of a sweeping healthcare bill -- with the support of all of its Democratic members, plus Republican Olympia J. Snowe of Maine -- offered powerful evidence that a moderate legislative blueprint...
December 2, 2009 |
Senate Democrats had to delay votes on the first set of amendments to the healthcare bill Tuesday in the face of stiff Republican opposition, underscoring the fiercely partisan floor debate and threatening the tight timeline for passage. Party leaders, scrambling to pass a bill by Christmas, had hoped to approve a proposal to expand access to mammograms and other preventive services. Instead, lawmakers spent much of Tuesday tussling over the bill's potential impact on Medicare. Democratic leaders propose to offset the cost of expanding insurance coverage to some 31 million people in part by cutting future Medicare payments to hospitals, nursing homes and other providers.
December 12, 2012 |
Medicare may not be the third rail of American politics -- that distinction belongs to Social Security -- but politicians who alter it put their careers at risk. For proof, just look at how Republicans lost a congressional seat in a conservative upstate New York district in early 2011 after the Democratic underdog made an issue of the Medicare overhaul proposed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). One might also blame the Medicare provisions in the 2010 healthcare law -- particularly the reductions to Medicare Advantage subsidies -- for helping the GOP take over the House in that year's elections, although that was just one of many problems for Democrats back then.
July 29, 2013 |
Republicans have said hyperbolic things about the 2010 healthcare law's Independent Payment Advisory Board so many times -- e.g., former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's declaration that it's a " death panel " -- that I've gotten inured to it. Nevertheless, it was a little startling to see some of the same facts-be-damned assertions coming from a liberal Democrat on the op-ed page of the Wall Street Journal. Former Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean took to the Journal on Monday to attack the IPAB with the same blatant mischaracterizations that have been the hallmarks of the GOP attacks.
August 23, 2009 |
Among the most contentious issues in the national healthcare debate is how to pay for it. President Obama wants legislation that is "deficit-neutral over the next decade." Here are the basics of what a healthcare overhaul would cost and how the bill could get paid: How much are we spending now? Total spending on healthcare in America will top $2.5 trillion this year, with nearly half coming from the government for Medicare, Medicaid and other public programs, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
November 21, 2013 |
The Rubik's Cube that is healthcare reform might have become even more puzzling for some people Thursday after the operator of California's online insurance exchange rejected President Obama's call for extending the life of canceled policies. Covered California said it'll stick with its Dec. 31 deadline. All plans that don't comply with the requirements of Obamacare must go adios by that day. Unless, that is, they've been grandfathered in. Color June Maguire confused. The 88-year-old Mission Viejo resident was among numerous people who have contacted me in recent days to ask what's what with the Affordable Care Act and what's this grandfathering thing all about anyhow?
October 21, 2011 |
Consumers receive their fair share of sucker punches from big corporations. But this one's a real beauty. And it affects all California seniors with Medicare Advantage plans offered by Anthem Blue Cross. Melvin Salse, 71, of North Hollywood received a letter from the insurance giant recently stating that "it has been our pleasure to provide you with Medicare Advantage coverage. " Salse, a retired TV producer, was assured that he's "a valued member" of the company and that "we look forward to providing you with outstanding service for years to come.
September 19, 2011 |
I'm an 84-year-old man on Social Security with original Medicare and Mutual of Omaha gap insurance. My insurance premium was raised from $262 to $363 a month, a 39% jump. After all my monthly expenses, I have just $240 left. What can I do in the event of another increase in my premiums? If you've had your current Medicare supplement plan for years, it's not surprising that you've seen your costs steadily rise, says Steve Zaleznick, senior Medicare advisor at PlanPrescriber, a Maynard, Mass.-based online provider of Medicare education and plan comparison tools.
June 26, 2008 |
Privately run Medicare Advantage plans spent less than they projected in U.S. bids to provide benefits for Medicare beneficiaries in 2005, collecting $1.14 billion more in profit, the Government Accountability Office reported. Insurance companies had forecast they would spend 90% of payments from the government on medical services to beneficiaries but actually spent 86%, according to the GAO report, which was released by Rep. Pete Stark (D-Fremont). Democrats want to reduce payments to Medicare Advantage plans and use the money to prevent a 10% cut in Medicare doctors' fees scheduled for July 1. House Republicans joined Democrats to pass the bill, which the Senate is expected to take up this week.