Today in Medicare

Trump tweets up a storm on drug prices but delivers little change

BY SARAH KARLIN-SMITH: To be sure, Trump’s campaign pledges on reducing drug prices had no buy-in from congressional Republicans who would have to pass legislation to enable Medicare to negotiate drug prices. But the president has authority to take certain steps on his own. He doesn’t need congressional approval, for instance, to move forward with drug importation, or to use Medicare to test new ways to pay for drugs. The administration also has broad authority to intervene when the government has invested in drug research but the manufacturer sets a price that puts it out of reach of many Americans. (read more)

Related: Trump Tweets Hint Healthcare Battle Far From Done

Take advantage of the Medicare Annual Wellness Visit

BY HARVARD MEN’S HEALTH WATCH: Since it was introduced in 2011 as part of Medicare Part B expansion under the Affordable Care Act, the Medicare Annual Wellness Visit (AWV) has gradually gained in popularity. Still, only a minority of older adults know about it, and even fewer get it, although it can offer many benefits to increase a person’s preventive care.

The AWV is a type of annual visit that is designed to address the health risks and needs of aging adults. (read more)

Related: Leverage Your “Welcome to Medicare Visit”

New site spotlights fees that raise Medicare costs on seniors seeking lifesaving medications

BY MAUREEN SHANAHAN: The National Association of Specialty Pharmacy (NASP) launched, a new website that spotlights the increasingly negative consequences of Direct and Indirect Remuneration (DIR) fees. These fees are inflating prescription drug costs for the sickest, most vulnerable seniors – the very patients the Medicare Part D program was designed to protect – and threatening the specialty pharmacies that serve the unique needs of patients living with complex, life-altering, and often life-threatening diseases. (read more)

 Related: Democrats would Ruin Medicare Part D with price controls on drugs


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