September 15, 2011 The plans offered by health insurance companies are an alternative to traditional, government fee-for-service Medicare. Nearly 12 million seniors are in the plans, about one-quarter of all Medicare beneficiaries.
Whoa! Medicare Administrator Donald Berwick now qualifies for Medicare, a first for a sitting head of the federal health program.
J. David Ake/AP
September 9, 2011 Medicare Administration Dr. Donald Berwick will now eat his own health insurance cooking. He started signing up for coverage earlier this week and hopes to have his Medicare card within a few weeks. He said he's getting no special treatment in the application process.
August 23, 2011 The new bundling proposal would turn Medicare's payment system on its head. Rather than paying hospitals, doctors, and post-hospital caregivers separately, Medicare would provide a single payment for, say, heart attack care.
July 27, 2011 A study finds the Medicare drug benefit is trimming around $12 billion in yearly spending on medical care. The savings are not enough to offset the total costs of the program.
July 26, 2011 HCA Holdings, the biggest for-profit hospital chain in the U.S., reported lower earnings than expected in the latest quarter due mainly to a decline in surgical cases.
July 22, 2011 Most trims to Medicare's budget have not directly affected care for beneficiaries. Instead cuts in Medicare spending have been directed at hospitals, doctors and nursing homes.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/138614501/138683649" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
July 21, 2011 A federal audit finds Medicare spending on hospice care for patients in nursing homes increased by 69 percent to $4.9 billion over just four years. Much of the increase was due to longer duration of hospice care in nursing homes compared with services provided at home.
June 30, 2011 To keep Medicare from going bankrupt, a majority of Americans would consider cuts in the program's spending. A minority would support Medicare reductions to avoid tax increases on the rich.
June 28, 2011 A Senate bill that aims to save Medicare money could lead to higher costs for patients. But fresh research suggests many seniors, whose nest eggs are slim, could have trouble coping.
June 27, 2011 Results from a national survey of doctors found they were less likely to take new patients with private insurance than those covered by Medicare. The unexpected finding surprised researchers.
June 1, 2011 Even 54 percent of conservatives polled said they were against the GOP Medicare plan. Needless to say, this is a very difficult survey to spin something positive out of if you're a House Republicans.
Click on the map to explore geographic variations in Medicare payments per enrollee.
Kaiser Health News
June 1, 2011 A report from the Institute of Medicine says Medicare needs to make a "significant change" to the ways it evaluates salaries of health care workers and real estate costs. Major changes to these calculations would affect the bottom lines of thousands of practitioners and institutions.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., earlier today (May 26, 2011).
May 26, 2011 One day after accusing Democrats of "Medi-scare" political tactics, the author of the Republican plan to remake Medicare and Medicaid and cut the federal debt said that so far Republicans are "negotiating with ourselves" on those key issues.
May 25, 2011 Senate Democrats brought Ryan's plan up for a vote knowing they had the votes to block it but wanting to tie Republicans to the Ryan plan in the hopes that it will prove toxic come Election Day 2012.
May 16, 2011 Chairman of the House Budget Committee, Ryan framed the argument for his Medicare plan as a way to shift the balance on who makes health care decisions away from the federal government and towards individuals.
NPR thanks our sponsors
Become an NPR sponsor