Today’s Hot Topics in Medicare News

Medicare weighs whether to pay for acupuncture

BY LENNY BERNSTEIN: Seeking ways to address chronic pain without narcotics, Medicare is exploring whether to pay for acupuncture, a move that would thrust the government health insurance program into the long-standing controversy over whether the therapy is any better than placebo.

Coverage would be for chronic low-back pain only, a malady that afflicts millions of people. Low-back pain, acute and chronic, ranks as the third-greatest cause of poor health or mortality in the United States, behind only heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to the National Institutes of Health. (read more)

CNN panelist misses the mark on GOP support of Medicare for All

BY BILL MCCARTHY: For two nights in Miami, candidates seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination for president tussled over the promise and feasibility of Medicare for All, the sweeping single-payer health care proposal made famous by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. 

Discussion of the proposal did not stop at the debate stage. As the candidates took the topic to the cable networks over the weekend, so too did the pundits. (read more)

Medicare changes could mean $83M less for NY hospitals

BY WRAL: Proposed changes to the Medicare wage index would mean $83 million less in funding for New York hospitals each year.

That’s according to a letter signed by the entire New York congressional delegation and submitted to Seema Verma, administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. (read more)

Poll: Most favor Medicare for All if they can keep their doctors

BY PETER SULLIVAN: A majority of voters support “Medicare for all” if they can keep their doctors, even if that means a diminished role for private insurance, a new poll finds. 

The Morning Consult/Politico survey reports that 55 percent of voters support a Medicare for all system when told it would diminish the role of private insurers but that people could keep their doctors.  (read more)

Trump’s ex-FDA chief calls 2020 Dem hopefuls’ ‘Medicare for All’ innovation-stifling

BY JESSICA BURSZTYNSKY: Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gotlieb told CNBC on Tuesday that “Medicare for All ” — favored by many of the candidates seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination — would eventually lead to a decline in health-care services in America.

“I don’t think it is that feasible, quite frankly,” said Gottlieb, who stepped down in April as the leader of the Food and Drug Administration under President Donald Trump. Medicare for All “would crowd out competition in private insurance and crowd out the kind of competition that puts downward pressure” on prices of drugs and medical services, Gottlieb said. (read more)

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