Today’s Hot Topics in Medicare News

Kamala Harris standing next to human pyramid saying no to middle class tax hikes

Kamala Harris rejects idea that ‘Medicare for All’ requires middle-class tax hike

BY SETH MCLAUGHLIN: Sen. Kamala D. Harris of California said Tuesday that her vision for a “Medicare for All” program wouldn’t require a tax hike on middle-class Americans, and that her push requires a transition period of more than four years.

That puts the 2020 presidential contender in line with advocates who say this sort of massive overhaul of the nation’s health care system would actually lower costs.

But it contrasts with Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont, who is leading the charge for Medicare for All on Capitol Hill and who says it would require tax increases. (read more)

Veterans: Pay Attention To Medicare At Age 65 Or Face Problems Later

BY DIANE OMDAHL: Some veterans choose not to enroll in Medicare Part B because they’re going to use VA healthcare for life. But, then life happens and things change.

Tom is a Vietnam veteran. At age 65, he retired and signed up for Social Security and Medicare Part A, hospital insurance, but not Part B, medical insurance. He doesn’t need that to go to the VA. Now, at age 75, he’s having some issues and needs more frequent medical appointments. The nearest VA facility is 37 miles away. Tom’s driving skills have declined and he fatigues easily. He would really like to see local doctors. (read more)

Some payers, providers could thrive under ‘Medicare for All.’ But only if they’re willing to adapt

BY PAIGE MINEMYER: Most of the legacy health organizations—both payer and provider—would stand to lose substantially under a “Medicare for All” system, but a select few could thrive, according to a new analysis. 

Analysts at Hammond Hanlon Camp (H2C), a healthcare investment firm, said most payers and providers would struggle in a single-payer system, with some of the former set to vanish entirely, but a small group of innovators could adapt more effectively to the changes. (read more)

Study finds CMS’ nixed change to Part D could have hindered drug accessibility

BY ROBERT KING: A new study found a Trump administration proposal to rein in prices on certain drugs under Medicare Part D would have made drugs less accessible to patients. 

The study, published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, explored price hikes over a five-year span for products in protected classes. Medicare Part D requires plans to add to their formularies products in six classes that include antidepressants, antipsychotics and immunosuppressants. (read more)

Democratic chair: Medicare negotiating drug prices not moving before August

BY PETER SULLIVAN: A measure lawmakers have been working on for months to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices will not move forward before Congress leaves for the August recess, said a key Democrat involved in the legislation.

“I really wanted to see that done pre-August, and I don’t think that’s going to be the case,” said Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), the chairwoman of the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee. (read more)

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