December 19, 2013 After a decade of kicking the ball down the road, Congress appears ready to repeal its payment formula for Medicare and replace it with a whole new system. This time, doctors would be paid according to the quality of results they produce, rather than the number of services they provide.
November 15, 2013 KHNMedicare has tied incentive payments and penalties to two-dozen quality measurements, including surveys of patient satisfaction and death rates. More than 1,200 hospitals are receiving bonuses. But more hospitals are being paid less for each Medicare patient they treat for the year that began Oct. 1.
October 31, 2013 Political bickering defines Washington these day. Yet leaders from both parties on two key committees have come up with a plan to fix a longstanding problem with the formula that pays doctors who treat Medicare patients. But the politicians haven't figured out how to pay for it.
October 25, 2013 The annual Medicare bill is expected to hit $1.1 trillion in 2023. As Medicare spending grows, contributing to the federal deficit, some policymakers have suggested that raising the age of eligibility to 67 could help the budget should be an option.
October 23, 2013 The idea was that Medicaid would expand to include people not covered under the Affordable Care Act. But many states have chosen not to expand coverage, despite financial incentives from the federal government. That may leave millions of people without any health coverage at all.
October 15, 2013 The government shutdown means some information on its website "may not be up to date," Medicare warns. Open enrollment for Medicare programs began Tuesday and will run into December.
September 18, 2013 Many of the cost factors that people think are the most important pale in comparison to those that actually are. Mismanagement and fraud top the list. New technologies and treatments are low. Most people think beneficiaries pay their own way or have prepaid for care, neither of which is the the case.
September 4, 2013 When is an inpatient in the hospital not an inpatient in the hospital? When that patient is on observation status. Patients who are termed on observation can have trouble getting Medicare to pay if they need to go to a nursing home. The practice has sparked lawsuits and legislation.
August 23, 2013 An analysis allays concerns that Medicare beneficiaries may have trouble getting in to see doctors. Access has been stable and is on par, or a little better, than for people with private health insurance.
June 27, 2013 Mail-order foreign pharmacies became less popular after a 2006 law helped seniors get Medicare coverage for medications. But many seniors still have trouble paying for drugs. The Maine legislature just approved a new law so its citizens can once again order drugs from Canada and Europe.
June 26, 2013 Men with low-grade prostate cancer are choosing robotic surgery and other expensive treatments, even though they probably don't need treatment at all, a study says. Less testing and waiting before deciding to treat would reduce harmful side effects in many cases.
June 25, 2013 Paying doctors to prescribe particular drugs is illegal. But drugmakers pay some doctors to talk with their peers about prescription drugs. The speakers say they aren't influenced by the money they get for promoting the drugs. But data show many of them are top prescribers of the medicines.