Medicare Seeks More Time To Estimate Cost Of Fixing Card Security Issues
A Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services official, testifying before the House Ways and Means Committee, said it would take six more months to figure out this cost and that he could not yet provide a timetable for removing Social Security numbers from Medicare cards.
The Associated Press/New York Times: Medicare Wants More Time To Study Cost Of Security Fix
Five years after being told to look at taking Social Security numbers off Medicare cards, Medicare officials say they need six more months to figure out how much it will cost. At a tense House hearing on Wednesday, Medicare's chief information officer, Tony Trenkle, said that he could not offer a timetable for making the change. Congressional auditors said that an earlier estimate of $800 million to $845 million was faulty, partly because of insufficient and inconsistent data (8/1).
CQ HealthBeat: Cost Estimates For Removing Numbers From Medicare Cards Expected In 6 Months
A Medicare official agreed to give Congress new cost estimates in six months for a proposal to remove Social Security numbers from beneficiaries' Medicare cards. Lawmakers of both parties at a House Ways and Means joint subcommittee hearing Wednesday agreed that displaying the full number on Medicare cards puts seniors at risk for identity theft. Beneficiaries are instructed to always have their cards on them, but that makes the sensitive number easy for someone else to obtain. Despite congressional pressure, lawmakers said, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has not come up with a plan for removing the Social Security numbers (Ethridge, 8/1).
The Hill: GOP Lawmakers: New Medicare Cards Would Help Prevent Identity Theft
The current Medicare card puts seniors at risk for identity theft and must be changed, two GOP subcommittee chairmen charged Wednesday. Reps. Wally Herger, R-Calif., and Sam Johnson, R-Texas, called on the Medicare agency to redesign its insurance card without beneficiaries' Social Security number. Most Americans do not carry their Social Security cards for fear of theft, but seniors face a dilemma because their Medicare cards prominently feature the number (Viebeck, 8/1).
The Associated Press/Boston Globe: Medicare Card ID Protections Overdue
Despite deep ideological divisions, Democrats and Republicans in Congress still can find common ground on one thing: their frustration with Medicare. Five years after being told to look at taking Social Security numbers off Medicare cards, Medicare officials told lawmakers at a sometimes-tense House hearing Wednesday that they still need six more months to figure out how much it will cost (Parnass, 8/1).
Meanwhile, a Government Accountability Office report is expected out today that highlights a legal glitch that makes it more difficult for the Internal Revenue Service to collect taxes from Medicaid providers -
The Associated Press: Gov't Report: Tax Cheats Getting Paid By Medicaid
Thousands of Medicaid health care service providers still got paid by the government even though they owed hundreds of millions of dollars in federal taxes, congressional investigators say. A legal technicality is making it harder for the IRS to collect. In a report being released Thursday, the Government Accountability Office says Medicaid payments to doctors, hospitals and other providers aren't technically considered federal funds, since they're funneled through state health care programs (Alonso-Zaldivar, 8/2).
And in other Capitol Hill news related to the IRS -
Marketplace: How The IRS Will Enforce Health Care 'Tax' Penalty (Audio)
On Capitol Hill today, a House committee is looking into the effects of the Supreme Court's ruling on health care, specifically just how the IRS will assess a tax on people who don't carry health insurance. Opponents of the health care overhaul say the IRS isn't authorized to collect and share the personal information that's required (Hartman, 8/2).