How Medicare Changes Are Playing Out For Advocates, And As Campaign Issues
News outlets track both concerns about how Medicare will fare as a result of the health law's changes and examine how other changes advanced by reform are being characterized during the election season.
The Washington Post: Patient advocates are watching to see if one of the most widely publicized benefits of the health-care overhaul becomes an example of a retail tactic -- when a 50% off sale is advertised, the prices may have been increased first to make that discount possible. "Beginning next year, at the expense of pharmaceutical companies, millions of senior citizens in the Medicare coverage gap known as the 'doughnut hole' will receive 50 percent discounts off the price of brand-name prescription drugs. 'There is legitimate concern that some manufacturers will steeply increase the price of drugs in order to offset the cost of the discount to the manufacturers at the expense of both consumers and the Medicare program itself,' the Center for Medicare Advocacy and the Medicare Rights Center said in a letter to the agency that oversees the federal health insurance program" (Hilzenrath, 9/20).
Politifact: This installment of the "Truth-O-Meter" explores the veracity of claims made in a campaign ad by the 60 Plus Association that says the health care law "will cut $500 billion from Medicare. That will hurt the quality of our care." Politifact provides the text of the ad and then notes: "Because of our previous fact-checks on the health care law, we knew this ad was leaving out important details on how the health care law ... changed Medicare. ... It's important to note that the law does not take $500 billion out of the current Medicare budget. Rather, the bill attempts to slow the program's future growth, curtailing just over $500 billion in future spending over the next 10 years. Medicare spending will still increase -- the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projects Medicare spending will reach $929 billion in 2020, up from $499 billion in actual spending in 2009." Politifact also examines other aspects of the ad and rates it "barely true" (Holan, 9/20).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.