Tag: "Medicare"

Headlines I Wish I Hadn’t Seen

96244133-regulationsNew regulations threaten to hamstring a Medicare Part D program that is working very well.

Kids being denied specialty treatment because of health plans in an (ObamaCare) exchange.

Is the (ObamaCare) Innovation Center squandering its resources?

Detroit will give retirees money; they’ll get subsidized insurance in the exchange.

Headlines I Wish I Hadn’t Seen

Does medicamedical-malpractice_lawfuell malpractice law improve health care quality? Apparently not.

Are we going to start seeing Pro-ObamaCare messages in the movies?

Ten percent of Medicare spending is waste or fraud.

Another reason for inequality: Princes aren’t marrying Cinderellas.

Surprise: ObamaCare redistributes income.

Headlines I Wish I Hadn’t Seen

ThUntitled-111-685x300e Obama administration opposes bills to require officials to tell people if their personal data has been compromised through ObamaCare.

Medigap raises Medicare spending by 22 percent.

Humana: enrollment mix worse than expected; one reason: Obama proposed allowing insurers to keep selling plans that did not comply with the Affordable Care Act as political cover.

42 percent of chief financial officers who have shifted additional healthcare costs to workers cited the Affordable Care Act as their impetus.

Most uninsured U.S. adults have not yet visited the online health insurance exchanges.

Would Medicare Pay for Robohand?

waldo-loves-robohandLeon McCarthy of Marblehead, Massachusetts, was born without fingers on one of his hands. When Leon was 10, his father Paul learned about the Robohand and purchased a 3-D printer to build one for his son.

Although the hand reportedly costs $500 to make, the printer required currently sells for $2,399. Even so, the Robohand is far less expensive than available finger prosthetics. Many of the Robohand’s parts can be reused when new fittings are printed as children grow. Though it not be as functional as some of the much more expensive creations available, people buying their own prosthetics are willing to trade some functionality for the Robohand’s lower cost.

Would Robohand be covered by Medicaid and Medicare? Probably not.

Medicare and Medicaid require a prescription to purchase durable medical equipment like hand prostheses. Leon did not have a prescription. He probably could not have gotten one since the Robohand is not an FDA approved medical device. His father obviously does not meet Medicare requirements for suppliers of custom fabricated and fitted prosthetic devices.

The next time someone argues that deregulation will do nothing to reduce health care costs, keep in mind Medicare and Medicaid durable medical equipment regulations, regulations that both raise costs and act as a competitive deterrent to people who might have ideas for products like the Robohand.

Will ObamaCare Finally Cause American Seniors to Turn Against Government Health Care?

Most Americans are now aware of the disastrous rollout of ObamaCare health-insurance exchanges for privately insured people. However, this has sidelined discussion of the pain that ObamaCare is inflicting on Medicare beneficiaries.

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On November 16, The Wall Street Journal reported that UnitedHealth Group has dropped thousands of doctors in at least ten states from its Medicare Advantage networks. This is a consequence of the federal government’s cutting payments to Medicare Advantage plans ― by $156 billion over ten years ― to fund ObamaCare. Earlier this month, Evan Gahr of the Daily Caller wrote an article describing how plans nationwide are shrinking, and citing a report by consultants at Avalere which projected reduction in Medicare Advantage plans, especially in rural areas.

Did CGI Know All Along The Website Wouldn’t Be Ready?

1380810351000-AFP-523412888On a sultry day in late August, a dozen staff members of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services gathered at the agency’s Baltimore headquarters with managers from the major contractors building HealthCare.gov to review numerous problems with President’s Obama’s online health insurance initiative. The mood was grim.

The prime contractor, CGI Federal, had long before concluded that the administration was blindly enamored of an unrealistic goal: creating a cutting-edge website that would use the latest technologies to dazzle consumers with its many features. Knowing how long it would take to complete and test the software, the company’s officials and other vendors believed that it was impossible to open a fully functioning exchange on Oct. 1. (NYT)

Does ObamaCare Redistribute from Whites to Blacks?

…[T]he Affordable Care Act can be construed as a transfer of benefits from Medicare, which serves an overwhelmingly white population of the elderly — 77 percent of recipients are white — to ObamaCare, which will serve a population that is 54.7 percent minority. Over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the Affordable Care Act cuts $455 billion from the Medicare budget in order to help pay for ObamaCare.

Those who think that a critical mass of white voters has moved past its resistance to programs shifting tax dollars and other resources from the middle class to poorer minorities merely need to look at the election of 2010, which demonstrated how readily this resistance can be used politically.

Thomas Edsall (NYT), also see Bill Gardner.

Why is David Cutler Shilling for the Administration?

This was in a Cutler editorial in the Washington Post last Friday:

In 2007, Obama asserted that his health-care reform plan would save $2,500 per family relative to the trends at the time. The criticism was harsh; I know because I helped the then-senator make this forecast. Yet events have shown him to be right.

Cutler is taking the recent slowdown in health spending — which no one thinks was caused by ObamaCare — and attributing it to ObamaCare. He conveniently omits the Administration’s own forecast of the effects of the Affordable Care Act. This is courtesy of Chris Conover:

Medicare Actuaries

A Good Idea That Will Fall on Deaf Ears in Washington

Harold Pollack writes:

good_news_bad_news_blogIn Illinois’ Medicaid program last year, 3.2 percent of patients accounted for half of all spending. The top 0.15 percent ― 4,500 people in a program covering 3.2 million people ― required annual expenditures upward of $285,000 each…

A striking proportion of the patients with the most costly and complex conditions are either homeless or one step away from that in precarious or temporary housing. It stands to reason that providing secure housing to people with chronic illnesses might help.

But as we pointed out in numerous posts (see here, here and here) Washington doesn’t like to pay for anything that isn’t invented there.

Headlines I Wish I Hadn’t Seen

SteveStack-HealthcareGov-sack102313Healthcare.gov is not going to be ready at the end of the month. What’s next?

Lack of competition in the exchanges: in over half the country there are two or fewer carriers.

Is The New York Times the Jay Carney of print media?

John Dickerson: Why the president’s apology doesn’t work.

Medicare Advantage: Seniors losing their coverage; doctors being cut from plans.

The DC ObamaCare exchange has enrolled only five people.