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Topic: Part D
The recent Washington Post piece published May 11, 2013, on the prescription drug dangers for Medicare patients raises some interesting points about the current prescribing habits of some outlier physicians/prescribers, as well as the lack of a coordinated effort to exclude those same prescribers from participating in Medicare.
According to The Hill’s Elise Viebeck President Obama is receptive to combining Medicare Part A (in-patient hospital) and Part B (outpatient and doctor) deductibles, into a single deductible just like every other insurance scheme in the US. Predictably those to his left complained, maybe because Virginia’s Eric Cantor also likes the idea. The impact would raise the deductible for people who use only physician services, lower it for anyone who is hospitalized, and, net, save Medicare money by shifting more costs to beneficiaries. However, some of the savings would also be used to add an annual out-of-pocket cap on what beneficiaries would have to spend. This is good insurance logic: don’t cover relatively low cost, predictable expenses. Focus coverage on protecting beneficiaries from catastrophic loss.
Click here to review GHG’s comments in response to the Advance Rate Notice, submitted to CMS on March 1, 2013.
The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on Medicare yesterday and received testimony by CMS Medicare chief Jon Blum. Almost a week after the shocking 45-day Notice for Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D was released, Blum offered little in the way of good news on the 2014 rates.
I hope you enjoyed the State of the Union (SOTU) address as much as I did — it’s the Super Bowl of policy geeks. I saw it as an effective rallying tool around a number of the President’s goals that will deeply challenge the GOP opposition, like an increase in the minimum wage and immigration reform. But it was the utter lack of any new ideas for Medicare that struck me — and definitely no olive branch to House Budget Committee Chairman US Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) on premium support. So where now for Medicare?