BY PHILIP MOELLER: Sheri – Va.: I was overbilled by a doctor who accepts Medicare. He continues to insist I pay him the difference between what he billed me and what he has agreed to accept from Medicare, even though my Medicare reports [summary notices] clearly show I do not have to pay this extra amount. My problem is that he reported me to Equifax and it has been falsely issuing a negative credit report on me! (read more)
BY RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS: The tax overhaul Republicans are pushing toward final votes in Congress could undermine the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance markets and add to the financial squeeze on Medicare over time.
Lawmakers will meet this week to resolve differences between the House- and Senate-passed bills in hopes of getting a finished product to President Donald Trump’s desk around Christmas. Also in play are the tax deduction for people with high medical expenses, and a tax credit for drug companies that develop treatments for serious diseases affecting relatively few patients.
The business tax cuts that are the centerpiece of the legislation would benefit many health care companies, but there’s also concern among hospitals, doctors and insurers about the impact on coverage. Here are some questions and answers on how the tax bill intersects with health care … (read more)
BY LEIA KLINGEL: CVS (NYSE:CVS) and Aetna (NYSE:AET) will merge into one company, and the coming synergies as the companies integrate could provide big benefits to Medicaid and Medicare users.
During the press conference discussing the merger, company executives said the combined company would “help consumers navigate the Medicare and Medicaid confusion.”
While at the same time, Medicare and Medicaid will provide an opportunity for the combined company, CVS CEO Larry Merlo noted that “the real opportunity is in government businesses: Medicare and Medicaid,” noting, that as a combined company, they will be able to better coordinate care and eliminate waste and unnecessary spending, which will mean lower costs and better care, improving these plans for customers. (read more)
BY MARCELLO TONELLI AND JOHN GILL: Kidney transplants are universally acknowledged as the best treatment for kidney failure. Compared with remaining on dialysis, transplant recipients live longer, have better quality of life, are more likely to raise a family, have fewer symptoms and incur far fewer health-care costs.
After a successful transplant, keeping the kidney functional requires lifelong use of immunosuppressive medications, which prevent the recipient’s body from rejecting the new organ. These medications provide excellent value for money since they allow the patient and society to reap the benefits of kidney transplantation. (read more)
BY GIDEON RESNICK AND SAM STEIN: Top officials in the Republican Party have suggested in recent days that they will pursue major entitlement reform following the likely passage of massive tax cuts in the near future.
Those officials, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), have been egged on by their party’s grassroots, which is seeking to capitalize on the party’s legislative momentum in an attempt to alter Medicare and Social Security. (read more)