Medicare

CMS Withdraws Rule, Giving Reprieve To Health Care Providers

Sep 16, 2020
Seema Verma
CMS.gov

The Trump administration has withdrawn a proposed rule that Florida health care providers were dreading and that was once described by a top state Medicaid official as crippling.

The move Monday was greeted warmly by hospital and nursing home officials who were worried about the rule taking effect at the same time facilities have lost money amid the coronavirus pandemic.

child at doctor's office getting a bandaid
CDC

A deadline to apply for additional funds has been extended to Aug. 28 for health care providers who take part in Medicaid and the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program.

The money is part of an effort by the federal government to provide assistance to medical providers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Safety Net Hospitals Seek ‘Fair Share’ Of Federal Money

Aug 3, 2020
Tampa General Hospital
WUSF

Congress, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, set aside $13 billion to help safety-net hospitals that treat a majority of poor, elderly and disabled patients.

But some of Florida’s largest safety-net hospitals - including Jackson Memorial, UF Health Shands and Tampa General - didn’t qualify for the funding included in a federal-stimulus bill known as the CARES Act, while seeing their finances deteriorate as they shifted from providing “elective” surgeries and procedures to dealing with coronavirus cases.

The Trump administration has announced four executive orders to lower drug prices, but health policy experts say they will likely offer patients only minimal relief and may take months to implement, if they're implemented at all.

The orders signed Friday afternoon included allowing certain drugs to be imported from Canada and making changes to the way discounts negotiated by middlemen called pharmacy benefit managers are passed on to Medicare patients.

Everyone involved even tangentially in health care today is consumed by the coronavirus pandemic, as they should be. But the pandemic is accelerating a problem that used to be front and center in health circles: the impending insolvency of Medicare.

With record numbers of Americans out of work, fewer payroll taxes are rolling in to fund Medicare spending, the number of beneficiaries is rising, and Congress dipped into Medicare's reserves to help fund the COVID-19 relief efforts this spring.

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New federal data reinforces the stark racial disparities that have appeared with COVID-19: According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Black Americans enrolled in Medicare were hospitalized with the disease at rates nearly four times higher than their white counterparts.

Seniors with diabetes will be able to sign up for Medicare plans that cap their co-payments for insulin at $35 a month beginning next year, the White House announced on Tuesday.

The news comes as some polls show Trump's support slipping with seniors, a voting bloc that may play a pivotal role in the November election. In 2016, he won over older voters, but recent polls show him trailing Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

Proposed Medicaid Changes Draw Bipartisan Criticism

Feb 17, 2020

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma said the federal agency has received more than 4,000 comments on a proposed Medicaid regulation that is taking bipartisan heat.

Medicaid Chief Says New Rule Would Be ‘Crippling’

Feb 13, 2020
Medicaid
iStock

The administration of Gov. Ron DeSantis, a steadfast supporter of President Donald Trump, is raising concerns about a proposed federal rule that would strike a financial blow to the state’s Medicaid program if allowed to go into effect. 

Hundreds of hospitals across the U.S., including a number with sterling reputations for cutting-edge care, will be paid less by Medicare after the federal government pronounced that they had higher rates of infections and patient injuries than others.

State Faces Loss Of Medicaid Funding For Hospitals

Jan 9, 2020
Stethoscope on a pile of money.
iStock

As Florida lawmakers prepare to start the 2020 legislative session, the state is being confronted with a $70.4 million loss in the coming months in the amount of Medicaid money it gets to fund hospitals, train future physicians and treat people who are mentally ill. 

Updated at 2:40 p.m. ET

Practically everyone is frustrated by high prescription drug prices. Voters have made clear they want Congress to do something about them.

On Thursday, the House of Representatives passed a bill that tries to deliver on that. It was a mostly party line vote — all Democrats voted to pass it, along with two Republicans.

Floridians Flock To Federal Health-Insurance Exchange Plans

Dec 6, 2019

Topping the nation, 796,858 Floridians had chosen health plans on the federal health-insurance exchange as of Saturday, according to the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. 

Feds Eye Medicaid Funding Changes

Nov 13, 2019
Patient in discussion with doctor at a desk.
Daylina Miller/WUSF

The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said Tuesday it is revamping rules that define how states can collect money to fund supplemental Medicaid payment programs. 

Group Health Cooperative in Seattle, one of the United States' oldest and most respected nonprofit health insurance plans, is accused of bilking Medicare out of millions of dollars in a federal whistleblower case.

‘Fear Of Falling’: How Hospitals Do Even More Harm By Keeping Patients In Bed

Oct 17, 2019
Nurse escorts elderly man using walker
Wikimedia Commons

Dorothy Twigg was living on her own, cooking and walking without help until a dizzy spell landed her in the emergency room. She spent three days confined to a hospital bed, allowed to get up only to use a bedside commode. Twigg, who was in her 80s, was livid about being stuck in a bed with side rails and a motion sensor alarm, according to her cousin and caretaker, Melissa Rowley. 

Overhaul Is Proposed For Decades-Old Medicare Fraud Rules

Oct 9, 2019
stethoscope and calculator stock photo resting on medicare application paperwork.
iStock

The Trump administration on Wednesday proposed overhauling decades-old Medicare rules originally meant to deter fraud and abuse but now seen as a roadblock to coordinating better care for patients. 

Vowing to protect Medicare with "every ounce of strength," President Trump spoke last week to a cheering crowd in Florida. But his executive order released shortly afterward includes provisions that could significantly alter key pillars of the program by making it easier for beneficiaries and doctors to opt out.

President Donald Trump is pledging to protect Medicare.  The president visited The Villages in central Florida – a collection of communities for residents 55 and older.  He announced and signed an executive order aimed at protecting and improving Medicare coverage.

Trump also used the event as an opportunity to tout his administration’s health care goals and achievements. He criticized the proposals set forth by his Democratic rivals, which he called socialism.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will penalize 2,583 hospitals nationwide for having too many Medicare patients readmitted within 30 days, according to federal data analyzed by Kaiser Health News.

President Donald Trump on Thursday accused Democrats of an all-out attempt to “totally obliterate Medicare” and portrayed himself as the program’s defender as he took steps to expand Medicare’s private insurance option.

Patricia Powers went a few years without health insurance and was unable to afford regular doctor visits. So the Missouri resident, who lives near St. Louis, had no idea that cancerous tumors were silently growing in both of her breasts.

When they started practicing medicine, most surgeons say, there was little or no information about just how many pain pills patients needed after specific procedures.

Five years after Congress passed a law to reduce unnecessary MRIs, CT scans and other expensive diagnostic imaging tests that could harm patients and waste money, federal officials have yet to implement it.

Florida Economists Grapple With Medicaid Expansions

Jul 31, 2019
Patient in discussion with doctor at a desk.
Daylina Miller/WUSF

State economists are struggling to come up with estimates of how much it would cost the state and how it would affect Florida’s economy if voters approve a far-reaching constitutional amendment that calls for expanding Medicaid. 

Retiring Abroad? Prepare To Possibly Mix And Match Health Insurance

Jul 23, 2019
Nurse escorts elderly man using walker
Wikimedia Commons

When Karen Schirack, 67, slipped on her way into her house in January and broke her left femur in multiple places, she had a decision to make. Should she get surgery to repair the fractured thigh bone and replace her hip near Ajijic, Mexico, where she has lived for 20 years, or be airlifted back to her home state of Ohio for surgery and rehab? 

Medicare Report Points To Neglect And Abuse

Jun 13, 2019
an elderly person's wrist
Hal Yeager / Kaiser Health News

An estimated 20 percent of Medicare beneficiaries in nursing homes who were transported to hospital emergency rooms in 2016 and treated for a variety of high-risk conditions had been potentially abused or neglected, a report released Wednesday by the federal government shows. 

Medicare, Social Security Face Shaky Fiscal Futures

Apr 23, 2019
National Institutes of Health

The financial condition of the government’s bedrock retirement programs for middle- and working-class Americans remains shaky, with Medicare pointed toward insolvency by 2026, according to a report Monday by the government’s overseers of Medicare and Social Security. 

orthopedic back brace
Wikimedia Commons

Federal authorities said Tuesday they've broken up a $1.2 billion Medicare scam that peddled unneeded orthopedic braces to hundreds of thousands of seniors via foreign call centers.

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