Medicare’s Financial Position Improved, But Republicans Reject Rosy ProjectionUSA Today/ABC News reports that Republicans are saying that a new report from the Medicare Trustees that says the health law has improved the projections for the health program's solvency is "too rosy."
"More than $500 billion in Medicare savings projected under the law - the result of cuts to some providers and the popular, all-inclusive Medicare Advantage program - should help extend the program's solvency by 12 years, to 2029, its trustees said Thursday. Not so fast, Republicans responded, noting that the same savings are being used to help extend health insurance to 32 million more Americans. 'If you steal over a half-trillion dollars from Medicare to fund another unsustainable entitlement, Medicare won't be better off,' said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah" (Wolf, 8/7).
Kaiser Health News runs down President Obama's weekly address in which he touted the health reform law's effect on Medicare solvency.
In the meantime, The Associated Press reports that Medicare's investigators of fraud took "an average of six months last year to refer fraud cases to law enforcement." By that time, the AP reports, many of the cases go cold, "making it difficult to catch perpetrators, much less recover money for taxpayers. Out of $835 million in questionable Medicare payments identified by private contractors in 2007, the government was only able to recover some $55 million, or about 7 percent, the report found. Medicare overpayments - they can be anything from a billing error to a flagrant scam - totaled more than $36 billion in 2009, according to the Obama administration. President Barack Obama has set a high priority on battling health care fraud and waste, hoping for savings to help pay for the new law covering millions now uninsured" (Alonso-Zaldivar, 8/8).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.