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People who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid face maddening challenges accessing health care. The government spends $500 billion on this care, yet patients often can't get what they need. amtitus/Getty Images hide caption

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The $81,739.40 bill for her mother's air-ambulance ride arrived less than two weeks after she died, Alicia Wieberg said. Lisa Krantz/KFF Health News hide caption

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Lisa Krantz/KFF Health News

Her air-ambulance ride wasn't covered by Medicare. It will cost her family $81,739

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A House-passed bill would equalize what Medicare pays when certain infusions are given in a hospital with what it pays when they're given in other health care settings. The hospital lobby is fighting it ferociously in the Senate. Eric Harkleroad/KFF Health News hide caption

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Eric Harkleroad/KFF Health News

Hospitals in rural America face a dire financial forecast. The government has an incentive plan to help them keep their emergency departments open, while shutting their inpatient services. Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

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Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Terminally ill hospice resident Evelyn Breuning, 91, right, sits with music therapist Jen Dunlap in her bed in August 2009 in Lakewood, Colo. The nonprofit hospice, the second oldest in the United States, accepts the terminally ill regardless of their ability to pay, although most residents are covered by Medicare. John Moore/Getty Images hide caption

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A counselor, right, navigates a client through the Medicare signup process at the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Broward County in Sunrise, Florida. Medicare open enrollment season ends Dec. 7. Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun-Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images hide caption

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Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun-Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images
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People gathered at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. in July at a rally held by the Center for Medicare Advocacy. They protested denials and delays in private Medicare Advantage plans. Alex Wong/Getty Images hide caption

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Alex Wong/Getty Images

Open enrollment for Medicare begins Sunday and ads like this billboard inside California's John Wayne Airport are popping up. Marketing of Medicare plans is subject to new, stricter federal regulations this year. Leslie Walker/Tradeoffs hide caption

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Leslie Walker/Tradeoffs

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris at the White House event on August 29 where they announced the list of the first 10 medicines targeted for Medicare negotiations. Win McNamee/Getty Images hide caption

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Win McNamee/Getty Images

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., and other members of the right-wing House Freedom Caucus could force a federal government shutdown Oct. 1. The National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and prevention would be affected. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images hide caption

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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

About 12 million Americans qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid, and they face relentless red tape accessing health care. A bipartisan fix that could help them is in the works. Getty Images hide caption

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President Biden hugs Steven Hadfield, a Medicare recipient who takes expensive drugs, at an event on prescription drug costs at the White House on Aug. 29. Evan Vucci/AP hide caption

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Evan Vucci/AP

Here are the first 10 drugs that Medicare will target for price cuts

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Thomas Greene with his wife, Bluizer, at their home in Oxford, Pennsylvania. After Thomas had a procedure on his leg, the anesthesia providers billed Medicare late, and he was sent to collections for the debt. Rosem Morton/KFF Health News hide caption

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Rosem Morton/KFF Health News

They billed Medicare late for his anesthesia. He went to collections for a $3,000 tab

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The Food and Drug Administration has fully approved Leqembi, the first drug shown to slow down Alzheimer's disease. Andrew Harnik/AP hide caption

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Andrew Harnik/AP

Alzheimer's drug Leqembi gets full FDA approval. Medicare coverage will likely follow

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Some older Americans got dozens of COVID tests they never ordered in the mail, just as the free test benefit was ending. It could mean they are at risk for more fraud involving their Medicare numbers. Spencer Platt/Getty Images hide caption

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Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Hospice provides vital end-of-life support and palliative care to terminally ill patients. But it's costing Medicare billions. A new approach would eliminate waste in the program. Westend61/Getty Images hide caption

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A Social Security trust fund is expected to run short of cash by 2033, according to new estimates, which would potentially reduce benefits to millions of Americans who depend on the program. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images hide caption

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Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Social Security is now expected to run short of cash by 2033

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Prescription drug coverage is just one part of Medicare, the federal government's health insurance program for people age 65 and over. d3sign/Getty Images hide caption

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Why Medicare is suddenly under debate again

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