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Meanwhile, more than 1,000 employers, insurers, unions and other groups are urging lawmakers to kill the unpopular provision, which sets up a tax on expensive employer-sponsored health plans.
And Medicare officials hinted Friday that they would be amenable to providing a window for beneficiaries who are worried about their plans. Other news on Medicare focuses on: prescription drug prices, hospital and hospice payments, and increasing costs.
“Medicare for All” has tripped Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) up in recent weeks. Now in Iowa, Warren is treading lightly on the issue. Meanwhile, black voters support a single-payer system more than any other group, but they still support former Vice President Joe Biden over the more progressive candidates.
Tackling surprise medical bills was touted as an issue that might actually make it through the severely divided Congress, but then talks broke down earlier in the year when it came time to choose a strategy to move forward with. Now a proposal from key House and Senate leaders, built on the idea of a dispute resolution system, could be gaining traction.
Eliminating the increase would produce cost savings for Medicare without hurting access to care or the willingness of ambulatory surgical centers to deliver services to Medicare beneficiaries, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission ruled. In other news, Saturday is the deadline for Medicare enrollment, but some advocates are calling for flexibility because of the difficulties some beneficiaries have encountered while trying to sign up.
But while the growth in health care usage slowed last year, larger hikes in prices more than offset it. Overall, national health care spending rose to $3.65 trillion in 2018, up 4.6% from 2017, according to an annual report by nonpartisan economic HHS experts. Retail prescription drug prices dipped by 1%, the first drop since 1973.
The method that Reps. Joe Morelle, (D-N.Y.), Donna Shalala (D-Fla.) and Van Taylor (R-Texas) are trying to build support for is favored by many providers. Although many lawmakers want to address the issue of surprise medical bills, debate has raged over who gets stuck with the cost at the end of the day. Other news on health care costs focuses on: expensive emergency room visits, value-based care, hospital closures, and more.
Although the work requirements played a key role in getting state Republicans to buy in to the idea of expanding Medicaid in Virginia, Democrats recently won control of the Legislature. Now, Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam has directed his administration to “pause” any of those efforts.
Former Vice President Joe Biden pitched a tax plan that includes a more moderate corporate tax increase in contrast with his progressive rivals. Biden “is committed to being transparent with the American people about the smart and effective ways he’d pay for the bold changes he’s proposing,” his campaign said. In other news, “Medicare for All” continues to be a landmine for Democrats. How did it get that way?
Opinion writers and editorials explore these and other health care issues.
A new study found that states that used “silver-loading” or “silver-switching” strategies to compensate for the cost-sharing reduction payment cuts offered lower premiums for subsidized enrollees. The Trump administration has solicited feedback on potentially banning silver-loading in 2021. In other insurance and costs news: bundled payments, penalties, health care sharing ministries and more.
Some American cities with high HIV rates already have programs that pay the costs of PrEP for the uninsured, but the new program — called Ready, Set, PrEP — marks the first time the government is supplying the drug to patients not enrolled in Medicaid, the Veterans Health Administration or any other federal health program.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, is worried about coverage losses seen in other states. But the Republican-controlled Legislature would have to agree to the pause.
The revelation that lobbyists helped draft or made edits to the lawmakers’ opinion pieces shows that critics of “Medicare for All” are investing time and energy beyond the presidential debate over the policy issue.
The public option, of course, would be less disruptive than getting rid of private insurance all together, but an inexpensive and attractive plan could still shake up the industry landscape. Meanwhile, former Vice President Joe Biden says 2020 rival Pete Buttigieg “stole” his health care plan.
CMS has been vocal in encouraging states to create more restrictions on their Medicaid programs. Many looked to work requirements, but those plans have faced major legal setbacks in courts. Tennessee could be leading the way on a new path. Medicaid news comes out of Missouri and New York, as well.
Sign-ups tend to dip over the holidays, so it’s likely that next week the reported numbers that include Thanksgiving, will be lagging behind once more. Sign-ups overall are expected to be slightly lower this year.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), known for having a plan for everything, started the race by signing onto Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) “Medicare for All” proposal. That decision has left her entangled with an issue that seems to be sinking her polling numbers and leaving both progressives and moderates unsatisfied, even though it wasn’t her policy to start with.
Media outlets report on news from Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Maryland, New Hampshire, Minnesota, District of Columbia, Florida, Wisconsin, Georgia, Ohio and California.
Veterans Affairs has rolled out a telemedicine app, offers services online and in rural areas is opening telehealth clinics at VFWs. State restrictions were dropped for the VA, allowing VA physicians and nurses to administer care to veterans via telemedicine across state borders, regardless of state licensing. Other news on veterans is on treatment for toxic exposures and a tragic discovery.