BY JEFF REYNOLDS: Congressional Democrats are lining up behind legislation that would set prescription drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) proposed the Senate version of the Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act, joined by cosponsors Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Jack Reed (D-RI), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) introduced the House version of the Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act, H.R. 4138. The House bill has 18 cosponsors.
The bill would direct the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate Medicare Part D drug prices directly with pharmaceutical companies. (read more)
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BY ROBERT PEAR: In a notable back flip, the Trump administration has decided that maybe the Obama administration was right in its efforts to change the way doctors and hospitals are paid under Medicare.
The Trump administration said late Tuesday that it was starting a Medicare payment model very similar to the ones it canceled and curtailed last year. The Obama administration devised the earlier projects using authority in the Affordable Care Act.
In the new program, as described by Trump appointees, Medicare will make a single “bundled payment” for nearly all the services provided in a 90-day period to certain Medicare patients who are admitted to a hospital or have certain outpatient medical procedures. (read more)
BY REUTERS: The Trump administration said on Thursday it would allow states to test requiring some Medicaid recipients to work or participate in community activities such as volunteering or jobs training as a condition of eligibility for the government health insurance program for the poor.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued guidance making it easier for states to design and propose test programs that implement such requirements. States must propose such changes through waivers and receive federal approval. (read more)
BY GREG HILBURN: Rural elderly patients may be forced from their homes and into hospitals or nursing facilities after Congress allowed a Medicare provision that boosted reimbursement rates for patients who live outside cities to expire.
“Service to some rural markets will absolutely cease without (an extension),” said Keith Myers of LHC Group, the second-largest home health provider in the country and one of the largest public companies headquartered in Louisiana.
Myers, chief executive and co-founder of the Lafayette-based LHC Group, is also volunteer chairman of the Partnership for Quality Home Health Care in Washington. (read more)
BY PHILIP MOELLER: I receive many questions about the needs of frail parents and other loved ones. Such folks often live on scant resources and don’t have family members nearby who can help. They may have some cognitive issues as well, but even if they don’t, trying to figure out how to deal with Medicare and Medicaid coverage and eligibility challenges can be overwhelming.
I often refer such questioners to a qualified elder care attorney who practices in their community. The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys is a good referral source. Twyla Sketchley, an elder care attorney in Florida and head of that state’s NAELA chapter, recently shared this list of questions to ask before retaining an attorney… (read more)