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Medicare & Medicaid News for Senior Citizens

2012 Table of Contents



Medicare News

Medicare Discloses Hospitals' Bonuses, Penalties Based On Quality

Medicare compared hospitals on how faithfully they followed rudimentary standards of care and how patients rated their experiences

By Jordan Rau, KHN Staff Writer

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/~/media/Images/KHN%20Features/2012/December/17%2021/hospital%20magnify%20300.jpgDec. 21, 2012 - Medicare on Thursday disclosed bonuses and penalties for nearly 3,000 hospitals as it ties almost $1 billion in payments to the quality of care provided to patients. The revised payments, which will begin in January, mark the federal government’s most extensive effort yet to hold hospitals financially accountable for what happens to patients. Read more...

Seniors Need To Be Tenacious In Appeals To Medicare

Helpful instructions for senior citizens on how to file an appeal - below news story

By Susan Jaffe, Kaiser Health News

Dec. 18, 2012 - Dan Driscoll used to be a smoker. During a regular doctor's visit, his primary-care physician suggested that Driscoll be tested to see if he was at risk for an abdominal aortic aneurysm, a life-threatening condition that can be linked to smoking. The doctor said Medicare would cover the procedure. So Driscoll, 68, who lives in Silver Spring, had the test done and was surprised when he got a bill from Medicare for $214. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Aging Coalition Urges Policymakers: Don't Reduce the Deficit on the Backs of Seniors in Need

Groups representing 60 million older Americans oppose cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security Cost-of-Living Adjustments

Dec. 17, 2012 - The Leadership Council of Aging Organizations (LCAO) - who together represent over 60 million older Americans - expressed grave concerns about proposed cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, the Social Security Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA), and discretionary programs like the Older Americans Act as part of the emerging budget agreement. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Increasing Medicare Age of Eligibility May Not Be Off Table but Chances of Approval Look Dim

White House does not support statement by Sen. Durbin that issue is not on the table

Dec. 14, 2012 – Yesterday, the Associated Press reported that increasing the eligibility age for Medicare was no longer part of the budget negotiations with Republicans. This good news for older Americans not yet age 65 did not hold up, however, as McClatchy Newspapers report today that the White House will not confirm the measure is off the table in talks aimed at avoiding the fiscal cliff. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Medicare Silver Bullets: What’s The Best Way To Control Costs? Experts Sound Off

Dec. 14, 2012 - Kaiser Health News (KHN) asked a range of health policy experts the following question: If you could make only one change to Medicare to control costs, what would it be and why? Edited excerpts of their thoughtful answers follow. Read more...

Marci's Medicare Answers

Medicare Advantage Plan Out of Business? You Have Extra Time to Arrange New Coverage

Medicare Rights Center Q&A addresses HIV preventive services; 'benchmark' Part D and Extra Help

Dec. 11, 2012 - Although the Medicare Open Enrollment period ended on December 7, senior citizens who were enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan that ceased operation still have time to arrange for new Medicare coverage, according to "Dear Marci," a Q&A column on Medicare provided by the Medicare Rights Center. Read more...

Medicaid News

Huge Experiment Aims To Save On Care For Poorest, Sickest Patients: Many Seniors

Dec. 10, 2012 - Editor’s Note: Too often baby boomers and senior citizens ignore the Medicaid program, assuming they will never need that medical assistance for the poorest. It also happens too often that many who thought that find they do, as medical, housing and long-term care expenses devour their nest egg. Medicaid becomes the last resort for survival. It has become a real focus of controversy as federal and state governments struggle to fund it. This report focuses on possible solutions for those seniors who qualify for Medicare and Medicaid – the “dual-eligibles,” they are called - as well a younger patients who cannot afford care. Read more, see video...

Senior Citizen Politics

How the 'Fiscal Cliff' May Affect Senior Health Care: Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE

Republicans and Democrats continue never-ending battle over the budget, while nation faces government shut-down; seniors concerned do to dependence on government health care

By Mary Agnes Carey, KHN Staff Writer

Dec. 7, 2012 - The impending "fiscal cliff" is a package of automatic spending cuts and tax hikes set to kick in next month unless President Barack Obama and Capitol Hill agree on a way to stop them. Below are answers to how this could impact Medicare, Medicaid and TRICARE, the health program for the military and veterans. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

GOP 'Fiscal Cliff' Plan with Big Reductions in Social Security and Medicare Rejected by White House

$200 billion in savings to come from GOP trick to change way inflation is calculated, thus reducing COLA for Social Security and slow Medicare benefit increases

Dec. 4, 2012 - The House Republican’s made a counteroffer to President Obama’s earlier budget proposal and it that for big cuts in the critical programs for America’s senior citizens – Social Security and Medicare – while still refusing to allow taxes to rise back to previous levels for the wealthiest taxpayers. The While House rejected the plan because it rejects the tax increase and does not meet his "test of balance." Read more...

Medicare News

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Senior Citizens Must Make 2013 Medicare Plan Choice by End of Open Enrollment on December 7

Just days remain for senior citizens to make Medicare plan choices for 2013: no choice necessary if they do not want to change plans

Medicare Open Enrollment Closes Friday, Dec. 7

Dec. 3, 2012 – With only days remaining before the window closes on Medicare Open Enroll ment, senior citizens are being reminded that the improvements to the drug program by the Affordable Care Act have already saved 5.8 million seniors, and others with Medicare, $5.1 billion - primarily by reducing the donut hole. Seniors have until the end of the day on Friday, Dec. 7 to make new choices on a drug program or Medicare Advantage. Read more...

Medicare News

Key Group Rejects Calls To Limit Seniors' Medigap Policies to Shrink Spending

Insurance Commissioners examine if seniors would use less Medicare  if the most popular Medigap plans were less generous

By Susan Jaffee, Kaiser Health News

Nov. 30, 2012 - A key group of state insurance commissioners dealt a blow Friday to proposals that would shrink Medicare spending by asking seniors to pay more for Medicare supplemental coverage. Read more...

Medicare News

Medicare Open Enrollment: More is Better, Says Official on Medicare Blog

Original Medicare benefits stronger, greater value; Medicare Advantage plans often offer extras like vision, hearing, dental, drug plans, etc.

By Jonathan Blum, Acting Principal Deputy Administrator and Director of the Center for Medicare

Medicare 2013 Open Enrollment

Oct. 15 – Dec. 7, 2012

Nov. 17, 2012 - In this season of Open Enrollment, people with Medicare have the opportunity to choose the Medicare plan that best serves their unique health needs and provides them with the greatest value. In determining the value of a plan choice, you should look not only at premiums and cost-sharing but also at what benefits and quality of care that money will buy. Read more...

Senior Citizens to See Modest $5 Monthly Increase in Medicare Part B for 2013

The Part B deductible will also increase by $7; reactions positive but note increasing cost of healthcare for seniors

Nov. 16, 2012 – Senior citizens will see their monthly premium for Medicare Part B increase by $5.00 to $104.90 in 2013, which is $4.00 below earlier estimates by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, according to Marilyn Travenner, acting CMS Administrator, who announced the new rates on the CMS Blog. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

AARP Says 7 in 10 Older Americans Oppose Medicare, Social Security Changes Now

‘Congress should not make last-minute deals that would jeopardize the promise made to current and future generations that they receive the Social Security and Medicare benefits they have contributed…’

Nov.15, 2012 - In an AARP survey fielded immediately following the 2012 election, 70 percent of Americans age 50 or older say that they believe a separate public debate about the future of Medicare and Social Security is needed and changes should not be part of any end-of-year deal addressing the nation’s budget deficit, often referred to as the “fiscal cliff.” Almost all (92%) older Americans also said that it is very important that Washington listen to ordinary citizens when it comes to decisions about Medicare and Social Security. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Fiscal Cliff: What Is At Stake for Medicare, Medicaid as Budget Battles Get Underway?

Medicare and Medicaid are big targets as the Congress and White House begin urgent task of preventing the government from falling off the “Fiscal Cliff’

Watch video,  listen to audio or read transcript

Nov. 15, 2012- The budget negotiations scenarios that may include Medicare are discussed by Mary Agnes Carey of Kaiser Health News in an interview by Jackie Judd. They also look at where the “doc fix” (Medicare pay raise for doctors) fits into the budget picture and whether Medicaid cuts are possible. Read more, see video...

Medicare News

Changes in Medicare Expected in Negotiations to Avoid the ‘Fiscal Cliff’

‘Lawmakers are wrestling with finding a balance between asking beneficiaries to pay more for Medicare services and reducing payments to Medicare providers’

By Mary Agnes Carey, KHN Staff Writer

Nov. 14, 2012 - Expectations are high. President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, say they want to avert the fiscal cliff, that toxic mix of expiring tax breaks and automatic spending reductions set to begin in January. If Republicans make concessions on taxes, Democrats and the president say, they’ll move on entitlements, such as Medicare and Medicaid, as part of a larger deal to reduce the federal deficit. Read more...

Medicare Extends Enrollment Period For Those Affected By Sandy

Can still enroll after the midnight Dec. 7 deadline if you call Medicare’s 24-hour information line, 1- 800-Medicare (1-800-633-4227)

By Susan Jaffe, Kaiser Health News Blog

Medicare 2013 Open Enrollment

Oct. 15 – Dec. 7, 2012

Nov. 9, 2012 - Medicare beneficiaries battered by Superstorm Sandy have one less problem to worry about: Federal officials have extended the Dec. 7 deadline to enroll in a private medical or drug plan for next year for those still coping with storm damage. Read more...

Medicare Hoping to Nudge Seniors Out of Drug, Health Plans with Low Ratings

First time Medicare officials have tried to steer beneficiaries away from some private drug and medical plans, while still allowing them to operate

By Susan Jaffe, Kaiser Health News

Medicare 2013 Open Enrollment

Oct. 15 – Dec. 7, 2012

Nov. 7, 2012 - Medicare officials are trying a novel approach during this open enrollment season to gently nudge a half million beneficiaries out of 26 private drug and medical plans that have performed poorly over the past three years. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Obamacare Gets New Life with Election Win by President Obama; Takes Place in History

President’s second term will be about bringing the law to life; Obama reelection, Democrats holding the Senate will solidify the law in American history - see editor's notes on benefits for seniors

By Jay Hancock, KHN Staff Writer

Nov. 7, 2012 - President Barack Obama’s victory cements the Affordable Care Act, expanding coverage to millions but leaving weighty questions about how to pay for it and other care to be delivered to an increasingly unhealthy, aging population. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

HHS Secretary Sebelius Touts Savings, Assistance for Seniors from Obamacare

Pre-election day announcement says Affordable Care Act has saved Medicare patients $4.8 billion on prescription drugs

Oct. 25, 2012 – In a timely pre-election day press release, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today that because of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), 5.6 million seniors and people with disabilities have saved $4.8 billion on prescription drugs. And, she adds, in 2012 alone, 2.3 million people in the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap known as the “donut hole” have saved an average of $657. During the first nine months of 2012, over 20.7 million people with original Medicare got at least one preventive service at no cost to them. Read more...

Medicare News

Seniors Satisfied With Medicare, Anxious About Future, Survey Finds

'Somewhat surprising how many seniors would be willing to pay more for Medicare'

By Alvin Tran, Capsules, The KHN Blog

Oct. 19, 2012 - Although most seniors appear to be at least somewhat satisfied with their Medicare coverage, many are deeply worried about what the future may hold for the program, according to a national survey released this week. More than 60 percent of seniors surveyed said they are concerned about changes the program may undergo. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

GOP Premium Support Plan Could Raise Medicare Premiums In Many Parts of Country

A central part of the House Republican budget written by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, now GOP’s vice-presidential candidate; also embraced by Mitt Romney

By Jordan Rau, KHN Staff Writer

Oct. 15, 2012 - The type of proposal championed by Republicans to overhaul Medicare by giving beneficiaries a fixed amount of money to purchase insurance could lead to significant increases in premium costs in some parts of the country, according to a new study. Read more...

Medicare News

Medicare Open Enrollment Season Opens For Advantage Health and Drug Plans

Medicare 2013 Open Enrollment

Oct. 15 – Dec. 7, 2012

Seniors have been reluctant to change plans, even if there are cheaper or better-rated alternatives

By Susan Jaffe, Capsules -The KHN Blog

Oct. 15, 2012 - Today, Medicare beneficiaries can begin choosing their drug and medical coverage for 2013, and most seniors are expected to stick with the same policies they have already, despite price changes and a rating system that shows some plans may be better than others. Read more...

Medicare Quality Ratings for 2013 Health, Drug Plans Added to Plan Finder

More four, five star plans than ever before for open enrollment – Oct. 15 – Dec. 7

Oct. 12, 2012 – With the Medicare Open Enrollment set to open on Monday, October 15, the quality ratings for 2013 Medicare health and drug plans were released today on the web-based Medicare Plan Finder. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius made the announcement today and also declared that people with Medicare have more high quality choices and the performance of Medicare Advantage plans is improving. Read more...

Seniors Citizens Overspend On Medicare Part D Drug Program: Health Affairs Study

Only 5.2 percent of Medicare recipients chose the most economic Part D plan available

By Ankita Rao, Capsules -The KHN Blog

Oct. 11, 2012 - Seniors spent on average $368 more than they needed to on drug coverage through Medicare Part D plans in 2009 — their decisions complicated by the sheer volume of plans available and difficulties involved in determining what makes a plan a good choice, a Health Affairs study released Tuesday has found. Read more...

Seniors Urged to Use Council on Aging Tools for Medicare Open Enrollment Help

From October 15 to December 7 senior citizens should review options and make changes in their Medicare coverage

Medicare 2013 Open Enrollment

Oct. 15 – Dec. 7, 2012

Oct. 9, 2012 - Next week marks the beginning of Medicare's annual Open Enrollment Period, which runs Oct. 15- Dec. 7. Now is the time for people with Medicare to review their plan options and make the most informed decision about their 2013 coverage, says the National Council on Aging. Read more...

Medicare Fraud Strike Unit Nabs Doctors, Nurses for $492 Million in False Billing

Sec. Sebelius and Attorney General HolderDozens arrested or surrendered in the last 24 hours as indictments were unsealed across the country

Oct. 4, 2012 - Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations in seven cities have led to charges against 91 individuals – including doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals – for their alleged participation in Medicare fraud schemes involving approximately $429.2 million in false billing, Attorney General Eric Holder and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today. Read more...

Medicare Skilled Nursing Appears to Be Used for End of Life Care Due to Cost

Authors say high Medicare SNF benefit use at the end of life highlights a need to incorporate quality palliative care services in nursing home

Oct. 1, 2012 – Most Medicare patients enroll in skilled nursing facility (SNF) care for rehabilitation or life-prolonging care, but in reality, many are dying patients discharged to a SNF for end-of-life care, where the available care may not be available. A new report finds that almost one-third of Medicare senior citizens received care in a SNF in the last six months of their lives under the Medicare post-hospitalization benefit. A reason for this shift may be the cost. Read more...

FDA Sends Stern Warning About Internet Pharmacies: Only 3% Meet U.S. Standards

BeSafeRx is national campaign to better educate Americans on drug purchasing, fake pharmacies; seniors not the prime targets they were before Medicare drug program

Oct. 1, 2012 – The Food and Drug Administration has launched a new campaign warning Americans about the prevalence of fraudulent Internet pharmacies and their danger to patient health. The public awareness campaign says only 3 percent of these drug dealers meet U.S. standards. It also aims to help consumers make safe online purchases. Senior citizens, major shoppers for lower priced drugs before the Medicare drug program was launched, still may seek low-cost options if they fall into the Plan D donut hole. Read more...

Seniors Must Shop to Avoid Big Hikes in Top Medicare Drug Plans: Avalere

Average increase may be moderate in 2013, but varies widely; 7 of top 10 plans have double digit premium jumps

Sept. 26, 2012 - The announcement by Medicare HHS Sec. Kathleen Sebelius in August that the average basic premium for Medicare drug plans is expected to "remain constant in 2013" needed more explanation, according to an analysis by Avarlee Health. The advisory firm says seniors in some of the top plans will need to shop around to avoid double digit increases, but can find big savings through careful shopping. Read more, see plans...

Senior Citizen Politics

Medicare Moves Into Spotlight of Presidential Race; Poll Finds Obama More Trusted

AARP upset that Medicare, Social Security or not on agenda for first presidential debate on Oct. 3; Medicare topic today at AARP meeting in New Orleans

Sept. 21, 2012 – Just as both presidential campaigns are shifting more of their focus to Medicare, the Commission on Presidential Debates has announced that this hot issue for senior citizens is not listed as a topic for the first presidential debate. AARP has issued a statement urging that “retirement security issues be directly addressed.” A new USA Today /Gallup Poll shows President Barack Obama is more trusted to address Medicare issues than Mitt Romney. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

HHS Touts Growth in Medicare Advantage Plans, Drop in Premiums Ahead of Hearing

GOP working on case that Obamacare cut MA plans, causing seniors to leave program; House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee hearing Friday

By Mary Agnes Carey, Kaiser Health News

Sept. 20, 2012 - Just days away from a House hearing where Republicans are likely to charge that the 2010 health law’s cuts to Medicare Advantage plans will cause insurers to leave the program and seniors to pay more for coverage, the Obama administration said Wednesday that as a result of the law seniors now have more of these private plans to choose from and that coverage is less expensive. Read more...

Medicare News

Medicare Enrollment to Open with Premiums Flat for Drug, Advantage Plans in 2013

Medicare Advantage Plans expected to continue growth – up 28% since Obamacare, cost down 10%; Enrollment opens Oct. 15 for 2013 plans

Medicare 2013 Open Enrollment

Oct. 15 – Dec. 7, 2012

Sept. 20, 2012 – Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period for health and drug plans in 2013 will open on October 15 and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services expects an 11 percent increase in Medicare Advantage enrollments and a slight increase in premiums. MA premiums have dropped by 10 percent, while enrollment has jumped by 28 percent, since the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was passed in 2010. Drug plan premiums are expected to be about like they were this year. Read more...

Insurance & Investments for Seniors

Often Unnoticed In Nursing Home Papers Is Arbitration Agreement You May Not Want to Sign

Anxious seniors or their caregivers often sign every document that's put in front of them, perhaps only glancing at the content

By Michelle Andrews

Sept. 18, 2012 - When Paul Ormond signed John Mitchell into a nursing home in Dennis, Mass., in June, he was handed a few dozen pages of admission papers. Ormond, Mitchell's legal guardian and an old friend, signed wherever the director of admissions told him to. Read more...

Medicare News

Shingles Vaccination Not Covered for Some in Medicare; It is for Some Boomers

Seniors face many obstacles to getting needed vaccines, including the shingles vaccine

Sept. 14, 2012 – The shingles vaccine – its cost, its coverage by Medicare, its coverage provided by Medicare supplement insurance, its coverage by the drug program – are frequent questions among senior citizens. This week the answers are provided by Michelle Andrews in her column for Kaiser News, “Insuring Your Health.” Read more...

Medicare Q&A

What to Do If Years of Credits are Missing from Your Social Security Record?

Social Security Q&A always has some surprises for even long-term retirees. Did you know noncitizens can collect Social Security?

Sept. 12, 2012 – Your Social Security record can be missing years of your work credits – a costly error that can be corrected, according to Oscar Garcia, Public Affairs Specialist, Social Security Administration. That is one of several unusual questions he answers this week about the program, including this one, “Can a noncitizen collect Social Security?” Read more...

Advice Column from Dr. Carolyn Clancy

Helping Senior Citizens Avoid Return Trips to the Hospital

Next month Medicare will prod hospitals to improve their practices; Those with high readmissions for heart attack, pneumonia, and heart failure will get paid less

By Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., Director, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Sept. 11, 2012 - If you or a loved one has ever been in the hospital for a serious condition, the last thing you want is a fast return trip. But that's what happens to 1 in 5 patients covered by Medicare, the health insurance program for people 65 and older, a major study found. Hospital readmissions within 30 days are costly for Medicare and for patients. Read more...

Medicare News

Players Set for Better Health Care at Lower Cost in CMS Primary Care Initiative

Public-private partnership ready to begin helping Medicare patients in 7 regions of U.S.

Aug. 22, 2012 – An initiative designed in 2011 to provide improved access to quality health care at lower costs for Medicare patients has completed signing up 500 primary care practices. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services says the Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative begins this fall to provide “more effective, more affordable, higher quality health care.” Read more...

How will Medicare Medigap Insurance Change Under Health Law?

Plans F and C are the most popular supplemental plans, chosen by nearly two-thirds of beneficiaries; Will increasing premiums be slowed?

By Michelle Andrews

Aug. 20, 2012 - Occasionally, this column answers reader questions about health insurance and how the health law affects them. How will the new health law affect Medigap policies? I’m on Medicare with a Medigap Plan F. Premiums are rising 20 percent a year. It’s a real strain for me? Read more...

Medicare News

Seniors, Boomers Can Soon Pick Up Medicare Information at Local Pharmacy

HHS announces partnership with pharmacies to help spread the news on new health benefits under new health law

Aug. 16, 2012 - Seniors will soon be able to go to their local pharmacy to learn more about Medicare and the benefits available to them under the Affordable Care Act. The announcement yesterday by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was timely as a new study was released showing increasing numbers of senior citizens are using the clinics popping up in pharmacies across the country. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Romney's Choice of Rep. Ryan Key to Politics of Campaign Medicare Debate

Senior citizen issues like Medicare and Social Security take center stage in presidential race as GOP's Romney picks vp with controversial ideas on entitlements - see video

>Watch video above, or > Listen to the audio.

Aug. 13, 2012 - KHN’s Mary Agnes Carey and Marilyn Werber Serafini discuss how Medicare reforms could figure into November’s presidential election now that presumptive GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has chosen Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to be his running mate. Read more..see video.

Medicare News

Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Premiums to Remain Steady for Third Year

Annual enrollment period begins Oct. 15 and ends Dec. 7, 2012

Aug. 7, 2012 - Average basic premiums for Medicare prescription drug plans are projected to remain constant in 2013, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced yesterday. The average 2013 monthly premium for basic prescription drug coverage is expected to be $30. Average premiums for 2012 were projected to be $30 and ultimately averaged $29.67. Read more...

Social Security Q&A

Couple of Things Seniors May Not Know About Social Security, Medicare

There are things women in particular should know about Social Security

Aug. 3, 2012 – There are a lot of things most of us don’t know about our senior entitlements – Social Security and Medicare. Oscar Garcia, Public Affairs Specialist with SSA, answers a couple of them here – are benefits calculated differently for men and women, and does Medicare cover us outside the U.S. Read more...

HHS Says 89 New Accountable Care Organizations Serving Medicare

2.4 million people with Medicare to receive ‘better, more coordinated care’ with shared savings initiative

July 31, 2012 - As of July 1, 89 new Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) began serving 1.2 million people with Medicare in 40 states and Washington, D.C. ACOs are organizations formed by groups of doctors and other health care providers that have agreed to work together to coordinate care for people with Medicare, according to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Read more...

Colorado CO-OP Becomes 17th Funded by CMS to Support New Health Law

In 2014 they will offer health plans through Affordable Insurance Exchanges

July 30, 2012 - The Colorado Health Insurance Cooperative, Inc. (CHI) became the 17th Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) to be provided a start-up loan by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to launch a new private non-profit, consumer-governed health insurance company to serve Colorado. Read more...

Obamacare Saves Seniors, Disabled $3.9 Billion on Prescription Drugs

First half of 2012 a million Medicare beneficiaries have saved average of $629 under Affordable Care Act

July 30, 2012 – Many of the senior citizens who feel compelled to oppose Obamacare – the Affordable Care Act – may want to take a careful look at the massive savings on prescription drugs that seniors are gaining from the bill. More than 5.2 million in Medicare have saved over $3.9 billion on prescription drugs since the healthcare reform bill was enacted. Read more...

Medicare Wants Pay Hike for Primary Care Providers; Pay to Return Patients Home

Proposal includes more Medicare-covered preventive services that can be provided by interactive telecommunications system

July 9, 2012 – Family physicians are getting a pay increase of almost 7 percent from Medicare in January and other practitioners providing primary care services will get between 3 and 5 percent. More than a million physicians and non-physician practitioners are covered under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) for calendar year (CY) 2013. Read more...

More Evidence Senior Citizens in Donut Hole Cut Back on Prescribed Drugs

Medicare depression patients take considerable risk in skipping drugs; many cut back on other critical medicine, too; Obamacare could help

July 2, 2012 - Senior citizens with depression who fell into the “donut hole” – the gap in the Medicare Part D prescription drug program where coverage stops – were very likely to stop taking the antidepressants they had been prescribed, according to a report by Archives of General Psychiatry, a JAMA Network publication. And, not surprisingly, they also cut back on other prescription drugs they were taking. Read more...

Medicare News

Cuts by Affordable Care Act in Medicare Payments to Advantage Plans Did No Harm

Medicare Rights Center releases report: doomsayers wrong saying a reduction in plan payments would increase costs, decrease benefits, diminish plan choices

June 28, 2012 – One of the tactics used by opponents of the Affordable Care Act was to tell senior citizens that it made “cuts” in the Medicare program. Details were usually left vague but the implication was it reduced benefits. That was never the case, according to a report released yesterday by the Medicare Rights Center. It shows that even when the cuts were accurately described as reductions in money Medicare paid insurance companies to promote Advantage plans, the action had no negative impact on Medicare patients. Read more...

Senior Citizen Opinions & Analysis

Supreme Court Gives America’s Senior Citizens Longer, Healthier Lives

Helpful in getting senior citizens who oppose Obamacare to take a second look are statements issued today by many well-informed senior advocates

By Tucker Sutherland, Editor & Publisher, SeniorJournal.com

June 28, 2012 – Many, many senior citizens – maybe millions – will live longer healthier lives due to the approval of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) this morning by the U.S. Supreme Court. For seniors the legislation has already put in place lower drug costs, more free preventive health care screening and an annual consultation with a physician to discuss their personal health plan. And, for all Americans it should mean an end to out-of-control increases in medical costs. Read more...

Senior Citizen Opinions & Analysis

Filling the Part D Doughnut Hole: Savings Could Disappear in Court Ruling

A Supreme Court ruling against the healthcare law could mean ‘a nasty hit in the wallet the next time millions of seniors go to the pharmacy’

By Ron Pollack, Executive Director, Families USA

June 14, 2012 - As just about anyone with Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage can tell you, one of the biggest problems with the benefit has been the gap in coverage that’s known as the “doughnut hole.” Under the original Part D, when your total drug costs (the costs paid by both you and your plan) reached an initial limit ($2,930 in 2012), your coverage would stop completely. Read more...

Medicare News

Medicare Drug Discounts for Seniors At Risk if Court Strikes Health Law

Over 5.1 million of those in Medicare drug plan saved more than $3.2 billion on drugs from March 2010 - December 2011

By Susan Jaffe, Kaiser Health News

June 13, 2012 - Billions of dollars in drug savings for Medicare beneficiaries may come to an end if the Supreme Court overturns the 2010 federal health law, a drug industry spokesman said Tuesday. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

3 Large Insurers to Keep Features of Obamacare Even if Court Strikes It Down

Unitedhealthcare to allow children to stay on parents’ policies to age 26, will not reinstate lifetime limits on coverage, will continue to offer cancer screenings and other preventive services without a copayment

By Julie Appleby, KHN Staff Writer

Description: http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/~/media/Images/KHN%20Features/2012/June/11%2015/health%20insurance%20computer%20300.jpgJune 12, 2012 - As speculation over the fate of the health care law heightens in anticipation of the Supreme Court ruling, at least three major insurers Monday promised to continue following some of the rules in the federal health law that are already in effect. Read more...

Medicare News

CMS, Partners to Reduce Antipsychotic Drugs for Dementia in Nursing Homes

Government joins providers, caregivers, patients to ensure better use of antipsychotic drugs in nursing homes; follows bi-partisan senate action to curb use of the drugs

May 31, 2012 - With a goal of reducing use of antipsychotic drugs in nursing home residents by 15 percent by the end of this year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services yesterday introduced the Partnership to Improve Dementia Care. No doubt a motivating factor is a bill crafted by Sen. Herb Kohl, chair of the Special Committee on Aging, that will require Health and Human Services to gain consent from nursing home patients or their guardians prior to the administration of these drugs. Read more...

Obamacare Has Saved People on Medicare $3.5 Billion on Prescription Drugs

In four months of 2012, over 856,000 seniors have taken advantage of the Annual Wellness Visit provided in the Affordable Care Act

May 24, 2012 – While the Supreme Court ponders the fate of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, Medicare beneficiaries are saving big on the cost of drugs. They have already saved $3.5 billion on prescription drugs due to the reform bill’s changes in the coverage provided in the “donut hole” of the Medicare drug program. These savings came between March 2010, when the law was passed, and the end of April of this year. Read more...

Medicare Perplexed: Spotlights Hospitals Where It Costs Most to Treat Patients

New Medicare figures show wide variance among hospitals around the country, even ones just a few miles apart

By Jordan Rau, Kaiser Health News

May 10, 2012 - The government has identified hundreds of hospitals whose Medicare patients are incurring especially high bills, a first step toward using bonuses and penalties to encourage more efficient care. The new Medicare figures show wide variance among hospitals around the country, even ones just a few miles apart. Read more...

Retirement News

Couples Retiring in 2012 Need $240,000 for Medical Bills, $20,000 More if Obamacare Overturned: Fidelity

Senior citizens relying on Social Security to pay medical bills will have only 39% of payment left for other expenses

May 10, 2012 - A 65-year-old senior couple retiring this year is estimated to need $240,000 to cover medical expenses throughout retirement, according to the latest retiree health care costs estimate calculated by Fidelity Investments. And, if the health care reform bill – “Obamacare” – is overturned by the Supreme Court, seniors can add another $20,000 to their costs, according to a report by Bloomberg.com. Read more...

Medicare News

Few Seniors Getting Medicare Wellness Visits; Few Doctors Offering Them

Survey says majority of doctors not prepared to meet demand for Medicare wellness visits; boomers stretching ability to serve Medicare needs

May 8, 2012 – One of the key strategies for Medicare implemented by the Obama health reform bill is a shift away from treating illness to a focus on preventing illness through efforts such as increased preventive health screening and paying doctors for advising senior citizens on how to live healthier lives. A new national study says, however, that a majority of healthcare practices across the country aren’t prepared to meet the demand of the 46.6 million Medicare beneficiaries who are now eligible for these wellness visits. Read more...

$18 For A Baby Aspirin? Hospitals Hike Drug Costs for Some Medicare Patients

Price patient was charged for insulin during stay at St. Luke's Hospital would have covered her out-of-pocket expenses for a three-month supply under her Medicare Advantage plan

By Susan Jaffe, Kaiser Health News

Description: http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/~/media/Images/KHN%20Features/2012/April/30%204/Zachor%20observational%20300.jpgMay 1, 2012 - Sudden chest pains landed Diane Zachor in a Duluth, Minn., hospital overnight, but weeks later she had another shock – a $442 bill for the same everyday drugs she also takes at home, including more than a half dozen common medicines to control diabetes, heart problems and high cholesterol. Read more...

Social Security News

AARP Says Social Security, Medicare Trustee Reports Show 'Long-Term' Challenges

2012 Reports underscore the need for a national conversation on strengthening retirement security for Americans; action soon by Washington

April 23, 2012 – AARP’s statement on the Social Security and Medicare Trustees Reports for 2012 emphasized that there is time for action on the looming financial crisis for senior citizens and called for a “national conversation on strengthening retirement security,” which is a campaign it recently launched. The statement emphasized Social Security funding appears secure until 2033. Read more...

Caregiver & Elder Care News

Fewer Antipsychotic Drugs, More Nurses Will Improve Care, Save Money in Nursing Homes

Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing focuses on long-term care for senior citizens; The Center for Medicare Advocacy offers ideas

April 23, 2012 - The Center for Medicare Advocacy issued a statement last week saying that huge savings in nursing facility costs, and advances in resident care, could be achieved if facilities eliminated the inappropriate use of antipsychotic drugs and provided sufficient staff to meet resident needs. Read more...

Medicare News

Seniors Get New Help to Compare Services of Home Health Care Agencies

CMS adds report on patient experiences with Medicare-certified home health care agencies to Home Health Compare

April 19, 2012 - Senior citizens just got another helpful informational tool from Medicare. Home Health Compare, an online tool for checking the performance of home health care agencies, has added survey results on what patients say about the care they have received from these agencies. Read more...

Health Care Law Cuts Red Tape, Saves $4.6 Billion for Care Providers, Health Plans

Important simplifications mean doctors can spend less time filling out forms and more time seeing patients

April 10, 2012 - A proposed rule that would save health care providers and health plans up to $4.6 billion over the next ten years, was announced Monday by Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The estimated savings were included in a proposed rule that cuts red tape and simplifies administrative processes for doctors, hospitals and health insurance plans. Read more...

Say What? Most Insurance Covers Little of the Cost of Hearing Aids

Medicare generally doesn't pay anything, though hearing loss is a common concern among senior citizens - Medicare does cover surgery to install a cochlear implant

By Michelle Andrews, Kaiser Health News

small hearing aid has big price not covered by MedicareApril 10, 2012 - Only a quarter of the 35 million U.S. adults who could benefit from hearing aids actually get them, and one of the main reasons is money. A hearing aid typically costs a few thousand dollars, sometimes much more, and most insurance plans don’t cover that. Medicare generally doesn't pay anything, though hearing loss is a common concern among its beneficiaries. Faced with a hefty expense, many people decide that hearing what’s going on around them is a luxury they can’t afford. Read more...

Revamping Medicare: A Guide to the Proposals, Politics and Timeline

Immediate pressure is to reduce the deficit by the end of this year to stop automatic 2 percent spending cuts from going into effect in 2013

By Marilyn Werber Serafini, KHN Staff Writer

President Barack Obama and Rep. Paul RyanApril 5, 2012 - Congress is unlikely to consider legislation that would fundamentally restructure Medicare until a new Congress - and possibly a new president - are seated in 2013. But politicians have sought to tackle the growth in Medicare costs several times in the past two years, most notably in the 2010 health care law and, then again, in last year's budget deal. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Physicians Wade Into Efforts To Curb Unnecessary Medical Treatments

Groups suggest one third of health care spending is for unnecessary treatments; Dr. Donald Berwick, the former head of Medicare, called the campaign "a game changer."

By Julie Appleby, KHN Staff Writer

April 4, 2012 - Nine prominent physician groups today released lists of 45 common tests and treatments they say are often unnecessary and may even harm patients. The move represents a high-profile effort by physicians to help reduce the extraordinary amount of unnecessary treatment, said to account for as much as a third of the $2.6 trillion Americans spend on health care each year. Read more...see video

Medicare News

Medicare Paying Hospitals Based on Quality Didn’t Cut Death Rates, Study Finds

Demonstration was by last Administration, separate from  value-based purchasing model Medicare says it is implementing into hospital payment system

By Jordan Rau, KHN Staff Writer

March 29, 2012 - Medicare’s largest effort to pay hospitals based on how they perform — an inspiration for key parts of the health care law — did not lead to fewer deaths, a new study has found. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Republicans Push New Budget Proposal Changing Medicare, Cutting Deeply into Medicaid: Media Views

Health on the Hill video examines changes in GOP proposal, Summaries of news reports from across American - see video

March 21, 2012 - The blueprint is an election-year marker that envisions a smaller government and deep cuts to entitlement and safety net programs. The Republican budget presented Tuesday by Rep. Paul Ryan has no chance of passage this year. Below are summaries of what others are reporting and below that is a video - KHN's Marilyn Werber Serafini and Mary Agnes Carey discuss the budget Ryan presented and how it differs from the proposal he released last year. Read more, see video

New Ryan Budget Would Drastically Transform Medicare, Medicaid With Cuts

GOP again pushes for senior citizens to buy private insurance but makes modification to previous proposal to allow room for traditional Medicare - See video

By Marilyn Werber Serafini, KHN Staff Writer

March 21, 2012 - The Republican chairman of the House Budget Committee surprised no one Tuesday when he released a spending blueprint that would drastically reshape the Medicare and Medicaid programs for the elderly and poor in an attempt to rein in their soaring costs. Read more, see video

Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

Large Increase in Use of Costly Sedation Services for Colonoscopies, Endoscopies

Study says anesthesia services for low-risk patients was more than two-thirds in Medicare population, three-quarters of commercially insured - see JAMA video

March 21, 2012 – Colonoscopies are certainly at the top of the list of preventive exams most senior citizens dread. The good news has been you are sedated during the rectal exam. Now, however, there are researchers finding a large increase in costly anesthesia services for endoscopies and colonoscopies and questioning the necessity. Read more, see video

Senior Citizen Politics

AARP Program to Draw Seniors into Conversation on Medicare, Social Security

'You’ve Earned a Say’ gives platform for older Americans who have paid into these programs to have a say in their future - see video

March 19, 2012 - AARP leaders at events across the country today announced the launch of You’ve Earned a Say, which the organizations describes as a national conversation about strengthening health and retirement security. AARP says this program is taking the debate about Medicare and Social Security out from behind closed doors in Washington and making sure that all Americans have a voice in the discussion about their future. Read more, see video

Medicare News

Medicare Commission Wants Some Cuts, Equalization, End to How Doc Fees Decided

MedPAC tells Congress it also wants changes in low-income drug assistance to encourage more genetics

March 19, 2012 – The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) has released its annual report to the Congress, Medicare Payment Policy 2012, which recommends some pay reductions for nursing homes and hospitals, an equalization of pay for the same service, more emphasis on generic drugs and, once again, a plea for an end to the way physician’s fees are determined each year. Read more...

New Initiative to Improve Care for Medicare-Medicaid Nursing Home Patients

Obama Administration sees opportunity for better care of nursing home residents with better coordination - seeking partners

March 15, 2012 - A new initiative to improve care for Medicare and Medicaid patients living in nursing homes was announced today by the Obama Administration. The Initiative to Reduce Avoidable Hospitalizations among Nursing Facility Residents was announced in a news release by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Read more...

Medicaid News

New Initiative to Improve Care for Medicare-Medicaid Nursing Home Patients

Obama Administration sees opportunity for better care of nursing home residents with better coordination - seeking partners

March 15, 2012 - A new initiative to improve care for Medicare and Medicaid patients living in nursing homes was announced today by the Obama Administration. The Initiative to Reduce Avoidable Hospitalizations among Nursing Facility Residents was announced in a news release by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Read more...

Winners and Losers Among States in Medicare Advantage Extra Benefits: Avalere Report

Seniors in Florida got $154 in extra benefits, those in Alaska got none

By Marilyn Werber Serafini

March 13, 2012 - Medicare beneficiaries in private health plans throughout the country get significantly different levels of extra benefits, and that disparity will continue with the implementation of the 2010 health law, according to an analysis released Monday by the health care consultant Avalere Health. Read more...

Medicare Report on Claims by Seniors Gets New Design for Better Communication

Aims to make Medicare information clearer, more accessible, easier to understand

March 7, 2012 – Senior citizens will soon see a redesigned report on their Medicare usage that is easier to read and contains information that will be helpful in better understanding the claims for services and benefits in the report known as the Medicare Summary Notice (MSN). Read more...

Medicaid News

State Funding Begins in Obama Effort to Keep Elderly, Disabled in Community

Funds to states supports Obamacare’s shift from institutional care to community supports for those in Medicaid with long-term needs

March 5, 2012 - New Hampshire will be the first State in the country to receive new Medicaid grant dollars - $26.5 million over three years - provided by the Affordable Care Act to help states provide services for the elderly and others with disabilities,  according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

House Bill Would Make Colonoscopy, Polyp Removal Free for Medicare Patients

Groups want to allow removal of polyps during procedure with no unexpected co-pay

March 1, 2012 - Colonoscopy for colorectal cancer screening saves lives, but a loophole in current Medicare law may cause patients to think twice before undergoing this vital test, says three medical groups. Legislation introduced today seeks to ensure that colorectal cancer screening for all Medicare beneficiaries is free, as was intended. Read more...

Health Insurers Open Stores To Peddle Medicare, Other Plans to Walk-Ins

Health insurers opening stores where consumers can talk with a customer service rep about buying a plan or resolve questions about current coverage

By Michelle Andrews

Feb. 28, 2012 - When Ronda Austin's employer stopped offering health coverage last spring, she bought an individual policy from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida. A month later she was given a diagnosis of multiple myeloma and began chemotherapy at her oncologist's office near her home in Tampa. Read more...

Books for Senior Citizens

Seniors Need To Reevaluate Their Needs For Popular Medical Treatments: KHN Interview

Baby boomers and traditionalists — the generation that came before the boomers — are first in history to hit age 60 and to be able to say, "What do I want to do with the next 25 years of my life?"

By Judith Graham

Feb 21, 2012 - Nortin Hadler, a professor of medicine and microbiology/immunology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has been warning for years about the lack of evidence supporting many popular medical treatments and tests. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Doctors 'Disgruntled' And Frustrated By Battle Over Medicare Pay Cuts

Note: Congressional negotiators agreed today to delay the huge cut in Medicare pay rates for physicians until next year.

By Julie Rovner

Feb. 17, 2012 - A looming 27.4 percent cut in Medicare reimbursements likely won't happen. But next year, any cuts could be greater. The good news for the nation's doctors — and the millions of Medicare patients they care for — is that assuming everything goes as planned, the 27.4 percent cut in reimbursements that would have taken effect March 1 won't. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Presidential Candidates Court Senior Citizens with Positions on Medicare

Romney would give seniors money to buy insurance; Obama would keep program, reduce the cost

By Marilyn Werber Serafini, KHN Staff Writer

Feb. 15, 2012 - When GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney told conservative activists on Friday that he wants to "save" Medicare by turning it into a program that would give seniors a defined sum to shop for the health plan of their choice, he teed up an issue that has the potential to sway millions of voters, especially seniors, in November. Read more...

Insurance & Investments for Seniors

Private Health Insurance Plans Must Eliminate Technical, Confusing Wording

Senior citizens may see help in plans for Medicare Advantage, prescription drugs, supplemental health and special needs outside Medicare

Feb. 9, 2012 - People in the market for health insurance will soon have clear, understandable and straightforward information on what health plans will cover, what limitations or conditions will apply, and what they will pay for services thanks to the Affordable Care Act – the “Obamacare” health reform law – according to final regulations published today. Read more...

Medicare Adds Hospital Infection Rate Data to Hospital Compare Web Site

Central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) kill about 25% of those infected; CMS to hold hospitals accountable

Feb. 8, 2012 – Medicare’s Hospital Compare now includes data about how often central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) occur in U.S. hospital intensive care units. Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) says with this data it will hold hospitals accountable for bringing down these rates, saving thousands of lives and millions of dollars each year. Read more...

Medicare Misconceptions Could Land Many Retirees in Financial Hardship

Boomers nor retirees on Medicare have good understanding of the program

Feb. 7, 2012 – A significant number of retirees on Medicare lack a solid understanding of the health insurance program’s coverage and costs. Two out of three, for example, did not know if Medicare covers long-term care. This lack of knowledge results in unexpected financial surprises, according to research by the Bankers Life and Casualty Company Center for a Secure Retirement. Read more...

Big penalties await those who delay Medicare enrollments

1/23/12 (Reuters) - Most seniors on Medicare will pay $99.90 per month this year for Part B outpatient coverage. But how would you like to pay 10 percent more for that coverage, or 50 percent more?

Failing to sign up for Medicare at the right time can cost you - big time. The monthly Part B premium jumps 10 percent for each full 12-month period that a senior could have had coverage but didn't sign up.

A mistake can be costly; someone who fails to enroll for five years would face a 50 percent Part B penalty - 10 percent for each year of delay. That penalty is permanent, and can translate into thousands of dollars in unnecessary lifetime penalty expenses; a headache no one needs on top of already soaring healthcare costs.

That means it's critical to understand Medicare's rules for filing. (Read more by Mark Miller at Reuter’s)


Medicaid News

Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) Saves $17.7 Billion on Prescription Drugs for States

CMS issues new rule to cut costs, increase transparency in Medicaid drug pricing to save taxpayers money

 Jan. 31, 2012 - Provisions in the health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act (often called “Obamacare” by Republicans), will save taxpayers and States an estimated $17.7 billion over five years on prescription drugs bought through Medicaid, according to estimates in a proposed rule issued today by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Read more...

Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

Preventive Services Not Offered by Doctors at Annual Exams; Seniors Most Often Ignored

Docs mention about half of recommended preventive services to older patients; most recommended are tests for colorectal cancer, hypertension, breast cancer

Jan. 26, 2012 - Patients – senior citizens and in particular – are not always presented with the screening tests and counseling services that are recommended and due during their medical checkups. Those most likely to receive the preventive services were those over-weight or obese. Read more...download free Medicare preventive services checklist

Social Security News

Patty Duke Registers Online for Social Security, Medicare in PJs

Patty Duke Show star has volunteered for years to help promote Social Security’s online services to fellow baby boomers - see video

Patty Duke, husband in pajamas join Social Security & Medicare.

Jan. 23, 2012 - After years of telling people they can apply online for Social Security in their pajamas, Patty Duke has taken her own advice. Duke turned 65 last month and applied online for retirement and Medicare benefits from home. Read more, watch video...

Medicare News

Medicare is Trying to Save Your Life; Needs You to Help by Using Preventive Services

Download this free, handy sheet for keeping track of your free Medicare preventive services

Jan. 22, 2012 - Senior citizens have a better chance at a longer, healthier life this year, thanks to the many new preventive services now offered by Medicare. Many have been added by the health care reform law, called “Obamacare” by its critics, but officially named the Affordable Care Act. SeniorJournal.com is offering a free checklist to help you keep up with all the preventive services you are due. Read more, download your free checklist...

Many Older Women May Be Able To Skip Osteoporosis Screening: Study

By Mike Stobbe, Huffington Post

1/19/12 - New research could mean millions of older women can skip frequent screening tests for osteoporosis: If an initial bone scan shows no big problems, many can safely wait 15 years to have another one, the study suggests.

Government advisers and leading doctor groups urge osteoporosis screening, but no one has known how often that should happen. The findings offer the best information to date on that question, experts said.

At issues are bone mineral density tests, which usually are done through X-rays and cost around $250. It takes about 10 minutes and involves less radiation than what's emitted during a chest X-ray. Medicare pays for testing every two years.

The new study feeds concerns that the tests are done too often, at least for some women. Complete story at Huffington Post

Medicare News

Health Reform Law Achieving Goal of Reducing Growth in Health Care Spending

Spending in 2009 showed lowest rate of increase in the entire 51 year history of tracking; 2010 remained low

Jan. 10, 2012 - A major goal of the Affordable Care Act, sometimes called “Obamacare” by the health reform law’s critics, has been to curtail the rapid increase in the cost of health care. A new report indicates it is achieving this goal – U.S. health care spending grew at historically low rates in 2009 and 2010. Read more...

President Obama, GOP Have Similar Ideas on Medicare Changes

Baby boomer tsunami forcing actions to reduce spending growth

1/2/12 - Medicare is headed for big changes in 2012, no matter who wins the White House, according to an analysis by AP reporter Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar. And, it is the flood of baby boomers – 1.5 million a year - hitting the Medicare door-opening age of 65 that is forcing changes to slow the spending growth.

The AP report says there are “surprising similarities” in the remedies being offered by President Barack Obama and the Republican leader on this issue, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

Squeezing more money out of higher-income senior citizens, limiting Medicare spending, and increasing the age for eligibility are mentioned by both. >> Read AP report at Yahoo



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