Today’s Hot Topics in Medicare News

‘Historic Step’ Toward Healthcare Justice as First-Ever Medicare for All Hearing Set for Next Week

BY JAKE JOHNSON: In what grassroots activists celebrated as a “historic step” toward a just healthcare system that places the needs of patients over corporate profits, the House Rules Committee announced late Tuesday that it will hold the first-ever congressional hearing on Medicare for All next week.

“I’m proud to announce this historic hearing on Medicare for All legislation,” Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), chairman of the Rules Committee, said in a statement. “I’m a proud co-sponsor of this bill. It’s a serious proposal that deserves serious consideration on Capitol Hill as we work toward universal coverage.” (read more)

To Rein in Medicare Costs, Trump Admin Wants to ‘Radically Elevate’ Primary Care

BY YUVAL ROSENBERG: Trump administration officials on Monday unveiled an ambitious experiment that seeks to transform Americans’ basic health care and lower costs by offering five new ways to pay primary-care doctors. The initiative is intended to reward doctors for keeping patients healthy and steer them away from Medicare’s fee-for-service system, which experts say can create incentives to provide more care rather than better care.

The new program, called the CMS Primary Cares Initiative, is voluntary, but the administration hopes that one fourth of primary-care providers and a similar share of the 44 million Americans on Medicare will enroll. The program will begin in January 2020. (read more)

Medicare ‘Buy-In’: All Roads Lead To Single-Payer

BY SALLY C. PIPES: Many Democratic politicians believe bigger government will solve America’s healthcare woes. But some centrist Democrats worry full-fledged “Medicare for All” will spook independents.

So they’ve unveiled seemingly moderate plans that would allow people to buy into Medicare before they turn 65. Lawmakers insist these proposals wouldn’t abolish private insurance or force everyone into a federal health plan. They’d simply offer another option.  (read more)

OPINION: HCA Stock Is Up Because Analyst Sees ‘Almost No Chance’ for Medicare for All

BY ALEXANDRA SCAGGS: Wall Street analysts are telling health-care company shareholders that they shouldn’t worry about Medicare for All.

The latest to give the all-clear is Raymond James analyst John Ransom. He has strong doubts about the political viability of U.S. government health care, and upgraded shares of HCA Healthcare (HCA) as a result. HCA shares were up 4.6% in late morning. (read more)

Medicare offers to partially raise payment for cancer CAR-Ts

BY DEENA BEASLEY: The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will slightly increase coverage for expensive CAR-T cell therapies administered at certain large hospitals, and is considering other ways to pay more for the cancer treatments, the agency said on Tuesday.

CMS, which runs the federal government’s healthcare plan for seniors, issued a proposed rule raising its maximum “new technology add-on payment” (NTAP) from 50% of estimated costs to 65%, which would increase reimbursement to $242,450 from the current $186,500. (read more)

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