Today’s Hot Topics in Medicare News

‘Medicare for All’ Advocates Strategize to Win Over the Working Class

BY YUSRA MURAD: Undeterred by accusations of socialism from Republicans and cautious skepticism from the Democratic establishment, single-payer advocates are mobilizing around a new strategy to keep the energy around their cause alive: positioning “Medicare for All” as a working-class issue that is designed to bolster the economy and ignite wage growth after decades of stagnation.

Even as some Democratic candidates vying for the party’s nomination for president pass over full-fledged single-payer plans and align with the public option, often billed as the politically agreeable and modest alternative, lawmakers and activists on the frontlines of the push for Medicare for All — led by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) — do not intend to settle for what they view as thinly veiled attempts to further enshrine the role of private insurers in the U.S. health care system. (read more)

Kamala Harris: The odds are ‘you will be able to keep your doctor’ under Medicare For All

BY JOSEPH A. WULFSOHN: California senator and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris assured town hall attendees on Tuesday night that the “odds-on favorite” under Medicare For All is that you will be able to keep your doctor.

Harris was asked about her plans for healthcare reform during a televised town hall in South Carolina. She responded by reiterating her belief that access to healthcare should be a “right” and how she’s been a proud supporter of Medicare For All. (read more)

CMS terminates Kentucky hospital’s Medicare contract

BY AYLA ELLISON: CMS ended its provider agreement with Southeastern Kentucky Medical Center in Pineville on May 24.

A survey of Southeastern Kentucky Medical Center on Jan. 30 by the Kentucky State Survey Agency found the hospital was not in compliance with Medicare rules and revealed several deficiencies related to patient care. Inspectors identified an immediate jeopardy to patient health and safety due to the hospital’s failure to maintain cardiology services, equipment to monitor patient medical conditions, medications for patient emergencies and staffing to provide required care to patients, according to a survey report provided to Becker’s Hospital Review(read more)

OPINION: Medicare arbitration smothers drug cures

BY GEORGE LANDRITH: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is considering a monumental change to Medicare — and believes that President Donald Trump might support her plan.

Her big idea? Binding arbitration — a method that empowers government-appointed “arbitrators” to dictate the price of new medications and treatments. She hopes it’ll lower drug spending. (read more)

Though ‘Donut Hole’ Is Shrinking, Medicare Drug Costs Are Rising: Study

BY DENNIS THOMPSON: Seniors’ out-of-pocket costs for cancer drugs continue to rise steadily, with patients paying thousands of dollars each year despite efforts to close the Medicare Part D “donut hole,” researchers said.

Prices for 13 anticancer drugs available through Medicare Part D in 2010 rose an average 8% over inflation every year over the past decade, said lead researcher Stacie Dusetzina. She is an associate professor of health policy and cancer research at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn. (read more)

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