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Donald Trump

Today’s Hot Topics in Medicare News

Trump’s big promises on drug costs followed by modest steps   

BY ASSOCIATED PRESS: President Donald Trump makes big promises to reduce prescription drug costs, but his administration is gravitating to relatively modest steps such as letting Medicare patients share in manufacturer rebates.

Those ideas would represent tangible change and they have a realistic chance of being enacted. But it’s not like calling for Medicare to negotiate drug prices.

Skeptics say the overall approach is underwhelming, and Trump risks being seen as an ally of the powerful pharmaceutical industry, not its disrupter. (read more)

People on Medicare struggle more with medical bills than seniors in other countries  

BY LIV OSBY: … In fact, Americans 65 and older have more financial hardships related to health care than their counterparts in 10 other other high-income countries, even with Medicare, new research shows.

“This is a huge problem, partly because we have so many folks who are only living on Social Security in this state,” said Teresa Arnold, executive director of AARP South Carolina.

“Even when Social Security goes up … the Medicare premium goes up as well,” she added. “And our (SC) folks get a lower Social Security check because they earned less (during their working years), so it’s harder here paying for Medicare and the supplement and Part D.” (read more)

Congress Boosts Medicare Coverage For Virtual Doctor Visits    

BY BRUCE JAPSEN: Access to telehealth services for seniors is poised to take off in coming years thanks to the newly approved federal budget that enables virtual doctor visits for Americans covered by Medicare Advantage plans.

The budget deal signed into law Friday by President Trump includes the so-called CHRONIC Care Act, a rare bipartisan healthcare measure that essentially makes it easier for private Medicare Advantage plans and other entities like accountable care organizations (ACOs) to offer telehealth services. (read more)

New Medicare ID cards come to mid-Atlantic states first    

BY VIRGIL DICKSON: The CMS has revealed which states will be the first in the nation to receive new Medicare identification cards that don’t contain Social Security numbers.

Medicare beneficiaries in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia are among the states that will be first to get the cards starting in April.

Beneficiaries in Alaska, American Samoa, California, Guam, Hawaii, the Northern Mariana Islands and Oregon are also expected to get the cards starting that month. (read more)

Medicare Data Reveal $564 Million Wasted On Chiropractors And Osteopathic Manipulation

BY STEVEN SALZBERG: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) now releases annual reports of how much it spends, broken down according to the procedures. Their latest data, for the year 2015, reveals that Medicare spent $564,165,721 on pseudoscientific medical practices.

I’m talking about chiropractic and osteopathic manipulation. These are similar but distinct belief systems, both involving bones, and both with no evidence to back them up. Most people think that chiropractors’ spinal “adjustments” can relieve pain from injured or aching backs. It turns out that it’s just an elaborate placebo: a back rub at home is likely to work just as well. And that home treatment is probably safer–I’ll get to that below. (read more)

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