March 15, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Federal law enforcement officials are pursuing two parallel investigations into the relationship between Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and a wealthy political donor, with a grand jury investigation underway in South Florida and a public corruption review by special prosecutors in Washington, according to sources close to the matter. The dual investigations are designed to sift through allegations that Menendez, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, aided Dr. Salomon Melgen, a South Florida ophthalmologist, in his business dealings in return for political contributions.
March 15, 2013 |
For seniors and their families, Alzheimer's disease and its hefty price tag are an increasingly scary prospect. About 5.4 million Americans are affected by Alzheimer's disease, making it the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Because of growing life expectancies and aging baby boomers, that number is expected to triple by 2050. Alayna Tillman's mother and aunt both have Alzheimer's disease and live with Tillman, her husband and two sons in Lake View Terrace. Tillman says Medicare pays for many of the medical costs her mom and aunt incur.
March 14, 2013
One criticism of the Medicare overhaul that House Budget Committee Chairman Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) has championed is that it would shift more and more of the program's costs onto seniors. In the latest version of his plan, Ryan acknowledges that capping the growth of the program could, in fact, make health insurance more expensive for some retirees. But that's part of the point of the change, which would concentrate Medicare spending on the poorest and sickest seniors. This page has argued that Ryan's overhaul goes too far, threatening Medicare's fundamental promise of affordable health insurance for all seniors.
March 8, 2013
Re "GOP revisits Medicare reform," March 3 People get the greatest share of their lifetime medical care after age 65, and Medicare is currently the cheapest solution to that problem. The federal program's overhead is smaller than private insurance, but economists say the program is underfunded. If raising taxes is a tough sell, then increasing the monthly medical insurance premium that most Medicare recipients pay above $104 would improve its financing. That is cheaper than having millions of seniors on the welfare rolls due to medical bankruptcy, which could happen if we place seniors at the mercy of the insurance companies by giving them vouchers.
March 8, 2013 |
Everybody loves lists. Most of those you see in the papers or online tend toward the inconsequential (The Six Best "Fast & Furious" Movies). So here's a list with a bit more gravitas: The five biggest lies you're being told about entitlement programs. Never mind that the very word "entitlement" is a lie. Social Security and Medicare got that name because workers became "entitled" to those benefits by paying into the system. In recent years, however, the term has become distorted to signify benefits people are entitled to without earning them.
March 7, 2013 |
WASHINGTON -- As Rep. Paul D. Ryan readies the new GOP budget, House Republicans are debating whether to apply the party's proposed Medicare changes a year earlier than planned, when Americans who are now 56 reach retirement age. No decision has been made, and Ryan declined to address the internal debate Wednesday. The party's earlier promise to keep Medicare unchanged for those 55 and older has bumped up against its vow to balance the budget in 10 years. The Medicare overhaul for the next generation of seniors will be a centerpiece of Ryan's budget -- and fodder for Democrats' criticism.
March 2, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Fired up as once-unimaginable spending cuts start to slice the federal budget, Republicans are launching a new phase in their austerity campaign - resurrecting the party's cost-cutting plan to turn Medicare into a voucher-like system for future seniors. Despite public uncertainty Saturday about the $85 billion in so-called sequester cuts, Republicans now believe they have momentum to ask Americans to make tough choices on Medicare, as rising healthcare costs combine with an aging population to form a growing part of future deficits.
February 27, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - As the Obama administration begins to implement $85 billion in cuts to federal spending this year, no part of the budget other than defense will take a bigger hit than healthcare. And the so-called sequester appears likely to have a disproportionate effect on areas of the health system already hobbled by years of retrenchment or underfunding, including public health and medical research. Although the Medicare program will account for the largest chunk of dollars cut from healthcare simply because of its great size, the scheduled 2% reduction in its payments to doctors and hospitals is significantly smaller than what many public health and research programs face.
February 20, 2013 |
Federal authorities say two of Medicare's most-wanted fugitives may be hiding out in Glendale. Healthcare investigators say Karo Gotti Blkhoyan, 32, and Anush Sahakyan, 29, set up a phony medical clinic in South Carolina from 2009 to 2010 and billed for $1.3 million in false claims. Medicare paid out more than $300,000. The pair, indicted last year on charges including healthcare fraud and money laundering, used the stolen identities of Medicare patients in California and New York, officials said.
February 15, 2013 |
Medicare called Friday for administrators of its Part D prescription-drug program to ensure that drugstores refill prescriptions only after receiving patient approval. The move follows a series of columns in the Los Angeles Times revealing how CVS and other drugstore chains were routinely refilling prescriptions and billing insurers, including Medicare, without authorization. In a lengthy document detailing proposed updates for companies participating in Medicare plans, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said it had received "complaints that beneficiaries have had medications delivered that had been previously discontinued or were otherwise unwanted and unnecessary at the time of delivery.