KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Plan To Revamp Medicare Drug Plans Meets Resistance

A bipartisan group of senators is criticizing the Obama administration's efforts to make significant changes to Part D drug plans.

Kaiser Health News: Administration Faces Opposition To Changes In Medicare Prescription Drug Program
Medicare's prescription drug program was controversial when it arrived, but a decade later it is widely considered to be a Washington success story. Now, though, the Obama administration is proposing a series of significant changes to fix what critics say isn't broken (Carey, 3/3). Plus: Three Key Changes Proposed For Medicare Part D (Carey 3/3).

The Hill: Key Dems Break With White House On Medicare Change
A number of powerful Senate Democrats broke with the Obama administration Friday by opposing proposed changes to Medicare's prescription drug program. Led by newly installed Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), all but four Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee criticized a suggested overhaul that would enlarge the government's role in Part D. The letter, also signed by Finance Republicans, described the strength of the current program and urged Medicare officials to abandon their plans to change it (Viebeck, 2/28).

Meanwhile, Medicare cuts in funding for home health care raise concerns in Oregon.

The Associated Press: Home Health Cuts To Hit Harder In Rural Oregon
Advocates for the home health care industry say the 14 percent cut in Medicare payments it will see over the next four years is unprecedented and could result in a loss of services for thousands of homebound seniors and disabled individuals in Oregon. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, calling upon authority afforded by the Affordable Care Act, issued the final rule in November that carries 3.5 percent cuts in payments from 2014 to 2017 to providers who support patients in their homes, ensuring they take their medications and providing certain therapies (3/2).

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