Today in Medicare

OPINION: The McCain-Kennedy Medicare Part C For All Bill

BY LAURENCE KOTLIKOFF: Heard about John McCain’s and Joe Kennedy’s new healthcare bill that offers a purple (as in red plus blue) version of Bernie Sanders‘ Medicare For All bill? It’s called Medicare Part C For All.

Probably not. So far this bill is fake news. But if you use your social media megaphone to spread this column far and wide and ask everyone you know to do the same, who knows. It could go viral and Senator McCain and Congressman Kennedy could be proposing this bill next week.

Like Sanders’ plan, which is traditional Medicare for All, Medicare Part C For All would provide universal basic healthcare with no coverage limits and no discrimination against those with pre-existing conditions. It would be a national plan — the same plan for people in Alabama and Alaska and the same plan for those with perfect health and those with cancer. (read more)

 

HHS hints at major changes to Medicare that could mean higher costs for patients

BY ERIN MERSHON: The Trump administration is signaling it will pursue significant changes to Medicare that could put beneficiaries on the hook for higher costs.

In an informal proposal on Wednesday, federal health officials hinted at several new pilot programs it may implement in the months ahead. One idea would give doctors more latitude to enter into so-called private contracts to charge Medicare beneficiaries more for certain services, if the patients were willing to pay. Elsewhere in the document, officials indicated they might offer more incentives to encourage beneficiaries to join private Medicare plans, known as Medicare Advantage plans. Democrats and other experts said the language suggested interest in the controversial “premium support” model long favored by Republican policymakers. (read more)

How Juniper’s care model could save Medicare $15 billion annually

BY TIM MULLANEY: Senior living providers might have the secret sauce to save the Medicare program more than $15 billion each year.

That’s the message from Bloomfield, New Jersey-based Juniper Communities, which provides assisted living and memory care services at 22 communities in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Colorado and Florida.

Likely thanks to the company’s Connect4Life integrated care model, Juniper’s high-acuity residents are hospitalized far less often than similarly frail seniors in the general Medicare population, according to research findings released last spring. A new independent analysis shows what this means for Juniper in dollars and cents, and how those cost savings might translate to the U.S. health care system at large. (read more)

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