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Old 02-22-2014, 09:50 AM  
HonestChieffan HonestChieffan is offline
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Government about to announce cuts in Medicare

This should set well with older Americans. Senate Candidates must be ready to stab themselves with help like this coming from the Emperors Folks. The Cuts were in the bill but like everything else with this monster of a turd, its meaningless till it hits home. If in fact the cuts are passed on, it will be interesting to see what outfits like AARP who has been a Obama campaign arm will do or say.


U.S. health insurers brace for new steep Medicare cuts
BY CAROLINE HUMER
NEW YORK Thu Feb 20, 2014 1:06am EST

(Reuters) - The U.S. government is expected to announce this week the proposed payment rates for insurer-run Medicare plans in 2015, but industry officials say the anticipated cuts will mean higher co-pays and fewer benefits for seniors.

Of the more than 50 million older Americans who receive coverage through Medicare, about 15 million are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans offered by companies such as UnitedHealth Group Inc, Humana Inc and Aetna Inc. The rest use Medicare fee-for-service programs, in which doctors are reimbursed by the government for patient visits and procedures.

Each February, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposes reimbursement rates that it agrees to pay insurers for managing the privately run programs. It publishes a final rate 45 days later.

Insurers are bracing for a proposed cut of around 6 to 7 percent when the government makes the information public in an announcement expected on Friday, according to the latest industry and analyst forecasts. Health insurance executives have been lobbying against cuts of that magnitude, saying they would have no choice but to pass on a significant part to seniors to keep their business intact.

Aetna, which has about 1 million Medicare Advantage members, said that to keep costs in line with cuts in recent years, it has changed its network of doctors and hospitals to be more cost-effective, among other efforts.

"If you can't solve the reduction based on those activities, then you have to resort to things that are much more visible to the beneficiaries, which can range from benefit reductions, and either premium increases or the introduction of a premium," said Fran Soistman, executive vice president and head of Government Services at Aetna.

Another possibility for insurers is eliminating plans and withdrawing from certain markets. Many did that last year after the government cut rates by nearly 6 percent.

"The concern is that a second consecutive 6 percent cut to the program will be devastating for seniors," said Robert Zirkelbach, spokesman for the healthcare industry's key trade and lobbying group, America's Health Insurance Plans. Their campaign has included TV, print and online advertising as well as a sign on Washington city buses, telling viewers that "Seniors are Watching" when it comes to Medicare Advantage benefits.

CONTAINING LEAKS

The announcement could put pressure on President Barack Obama's administration as it defends its signature healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act, from attack ahead of the 2014 elections. Early technical failures hampered enrollment in insurance plans and new fees and healthcare taxes have gone into effect, providing Republican opponents of the law with ammunition to call for its delay.

Insurers, which worked closely with the government to help fix early enrollment problems, are hoping that partnership will help their lobbying effort to influence the 2015 Medicare rates.

The U.S. government has been cutting payment rates for Medicare Advantage as part of an overall reduction in healthcare spending required under the law and as it seeks to bring the program fees closer to the ones it pays through the Medicare fee-for-service program.

CMS is balancing the need for these spending cuts with the potential political backlash. A group of 40 senators, both Republicans and Democrats, recently called on the agency to maintain Medicare Advantage payment levels and prevent disruption.

The rate announcement due out this week has been widely anticipated by insurers and investors this year, after information on last year's release of the final rates was leaked to investors ahead of time. As a result of that, stocks in insurers with large Medicare Advantage businesses jumped higher just before the market close because the payments were not as low as investors had expected.

A Wall Street Journal report found that a lobbyist who was working for Humana had been involved in the leak. The story prompted investigations by the Department of Justice, Republican Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, Humana (which fired the law firm of the lobbyist), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and its Office of the Inspector General.

When asked about any changes the agency is taking this year concerning the announcement, a spokeswoman for CMS said that the agency is "committed to releasing Medicare payment policies in a time and manner that is appropriate and consistent with statutory requirements." She did not provide a comment on the probe into last year's incident.

The U.S. Justice Department and the Office of the Inspector General declined to comment.

Humana did not have an immediate response, and Grassley's office did not return a call seeking comment.

This week's announcement is unlikely to affect industry stocks unless it comes in far below or far above 6 percent, according to CRT Capital analyst Sheryl Skolnick.

"It is by no means a secret. Everyone knows it is coming and everyone knows it is going to be bad," Skolnick said.

The final rate announcement is expected on April 7.

(Reporting by Caroline Humer; Editing by Michele Gershberg, Amanda Kwan and Ken Wills)
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Old 02-26-2014, 11:05 AM   #31
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Pathetic. Just admit you are pissed off that mean old Obama wants to take some of your free govt goodies away. We can all see that's what is going on.
The silliest part of all this is that the GOP, the same GOP now cynically trying to make hay out of these "medicare cuts", have been trying to pass even larger cuts in medicare for years, and will continue to vote for steeper medicare cuts out of the house in the future.
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Old 02-26-2014, 11:33 AM   #32
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So those of us that are working and paying for these people to get 3 to 4 times what they paid in will get nothing and like it when its our turn. I mean, that's pretty much what I have expected most of my adult life, but that doesn't make it not suck.
Well if the Baby Boomers have their way in voting in the Ryan reforms, yes - that is exactly what will happen.

My mom "paid for" her Medicare, but wants to "fix it" for me. Thanks Mom!
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Old 02-26-2014, 11:35 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by alnorth View Post
The silliest part of all this is that the GOP, the same GOP now cynically trying to make hay out of these "medicare cuts", have been trying to pass even larger cuts in medicare for years, and will continue to vote for steeper medicare cuts out of the house in the future.
The GOP was opposed to Medicare since it's inception and has been trying to kill it ever since. Lucky for them their base has the attention span of a concussed goldfish. DEATH PANELZZZ!
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Old 02-26-2014, 11:48 AM   #34
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Liberal free lovin' baby boomers have destroyed this country and now the ignorant millenials have to pay the bill. All the millenials care about is Gay rights and that's how they vote. Until Gays get there own casinos to right the wrong, it'll remain that way.
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Old 02-26-2014, 01:09 PM   #35
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You really need to get in touch with your anger more.
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Old 02-26-2014, 01:39 PM   #36
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You really need to get in touch with your anger more.
I touch my anger constantly.
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Old 02-26-2014, 02:39 PM   #37
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Liberal free lovin' baby boomers have destroyed this country and now the ignorant millenials have to pay the bill. All the millenials care about is Gay rights and that's how they vote. Until Gays get there own casinos to right the wrong, it'll remain that way.
Fabulous idea is fabulous.
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Old 02-26-2014, 02:49 PM   #38
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I touch my anger constantly.
Just don't let it go off in your face.
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Old 02-27-2014, 07:26 PM   #39
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Glitch In Maryland’s Obamacare Exchange To Cost State $30.5 Million In Excess Medicaid Payments… WaPo….ooooh damnnnn



Oh shit its not old peoples fault? No Way!!! ****wad Obots eat shit again….


A single flaw in Maryland’s troubled online health insurance system will cost the state an estimated $30.5 million in excess Medicaid payments over the next 18 months because the system cannot accurately identify recipients who should be removed from the rolls, a report by state budget officials said.

The money will pay for coverage for thousands of individuals who are enrolled in Medicaid but whose income likely has increased to the point that they no longer qualify for the subsidy, which helps cover health costs for low-income individuals.

Maryland’s system cannot check whether Medicaid recipients earn too much to re-qualify. Rather than remove people incorrectly, the state reached an agreement with federal officials to delay reviews and continue payments until the site is repaired.

The report provides the first look at the potential dollar cost of the debacle, after months of public outrage and political finger-pointing over who is to blame for the deeply flawed site, which crashed within minutes of its public debut Oct. 1. In addition to identifying the “potentially very costly” Medicaid flaw, the report also found “significant uncertainty” about how much money it will take to fix the health insurance marketplace and where that money will come from.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/...fa7_story.html
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Old 02-28-2014, 11:50 AM   #40
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More fun for moon bats that think this is a great deal....You are paying for some loon to get his wackier removed under the banner of health care.

Blame the old folks? Stupid Obots.


(NBC Washington) — Insurance companies in the District of Columbia have been ordered to stop denying coverage to transgender residents seeking gender-reassignment surgery.

Mayor Vincent Gray says the new rules will end health-care discrimination against the transgender population and put “the district at the forefront of advancing the rights of transgender individuals.”

A bulletin issued Thursday by the city’s Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking says that gender dysphoria is a recognized medical condition. It says the various forms of treatment for that condition, including sex-change procedures, are covered benefits.

Gray says people with gender dysphoria, also known as gender identity disorder, “should not have to pay exorbitant out-of-pocket expenses for medically necessary treatment.” The mayor is a Democrat who is seeking re-election.


http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/lo...247475841.html
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Old 02-28-2014, 12:04 PM   #41
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This country has some serious problems.
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Old 02-28-2014, 12:27 PM   #42
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This country has some serious problems.

Kid Cannot wear an American Flag on his jacket to school but we will pay to have some moonbat made into a freak.
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Old 03-12-2014, 07:52 AM   #43
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Well, Obama has found another part of ObamaCare to either delay or change.

For those who support ObamaCare it must feel pretty shitty to see every major part of this deal either delayed, changed or wavered.

But as it goes, it looks like any effort to do anything other than get at least one website to work will keep the federal government busy. The cut of date is upon them, no one is signing up, more people are without health care now than before the law was passed, Billions have been given to IT consultants who can't get a wwwdot to work...

And now, the Medicare drug change...well, no it won't....

Drug rule is ditched by Obama
By Elise Viebeck





The Obama administration is abandoning a surprise plan to alter Medicare’s drug coverage after receiving withering criticism from Congress and K Street.

Medicare chief Marilyn Tavenner alerted lawmakers Monday that her agency would not go forward with a proposal to give insurers more leeway to limit the number of drugs they cover for Medicare beneficiaries.

Critics argued that making the change, which was designed to save money, would have hampered seniors’ access to necessary drugs.

Democrats worried the issue would hurt them in the midterm elections, and House

Republicans had scheduled a vote this week on a bill blocking the regulation from going forward.

The about-face is the latest example in which the Obama administration has changed its healthcare policies to try to benefit the president’s party.

Tavenner’s announcement means Medicare will continue to subject six classes of prescription drugs to stringent rules requiring insurers to cover nearly all medications in those classes.

If the change had gone forward, only three classes of drugs — cancer, HIV and anti-seizure medications — would have been subject to those rules.

“We will engage in further stakeholder input before advancing some or all of the changes in these areas in future years,” Tavenner wrote in a letter to lawmakers announcing the administration was backing off.

“We are committed to continuing to work with Congress to continue to ensure that Parts C and D work best for Medicare beneficiaries.”

Seizing the opportunity, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called on the administration to go a step further and withdraw its proposed cut to Medicare Advantage.

Set to be finalized next month, the rate reduction is opposed by Republicans and some Democrats, and GOP campaign committees are already using it to target opponents.


“We remain concerned about the impact of ObamaCare’s looming cuts to Medicare Advantage, something that was not addressed in today’s announcement,” McConnell said in a statement.

“Seniors need to know whether the president will stand by his word, and that they can keep the plans they have and like.”

The Obama administration’s quixotic push to alter Part D in an election year stunned the healthcare world when the regulations came out in January.

The vote on the House GOP bill to block the regulation is likely headed for approval in a bipartisan vote, and House Republicans have kept the bill on their schedule for the week.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) floated a long list of changes in addition to lifting “protected status” for three types of drugs.

One provision would have limited the number of Part D drug plans that insurance companies could offer in a specific region of the country.

Another would have relaxed the rules that govern plans’ preferred pharmacy networks, allowing all pharmacies to participate.

The regulations would have also permitted federal health officials to participate in negotiations between insurers and pharmacies in Part D for the first time.

Each change quickly triggered its own fight among industry groups.

Local pharmacies supported the relaxed rules for preferred networks, for example, while disease and patient groups slammed the changes to “protected status” drugs.

Altogether, the controversy produced an unprecedented backlash for the administration that united Republicans, Democrats and stakeholders across the healthcare world.

The CMS was flooded with communications from lawmakers, including a rare, unanimous letter from the Senate Finance Committee highlighting the likely harm to seniors.

The House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means committees also weighed in with a unique bi-panel, bipartisan letter opposing the changes.

Tavenner walked back nearly all of the proposed changes Monday but vowed to finalize several smaller provisions, like strengthening certain standards for drug prescribers, in short order.
“We plan to finalize proposals related to consumer protections, anti-fraud provisions that have bipartisan support and transparency after taking into consideration the comments received during the public comment period,” she wrote.

The announcement received swift praise from healthcare groups that emerged to fight the regulations, such as the Washington, D.C.-based Partnership for Part D Access.

“We are thrilled that CMS has listened to the loud chorus of support for maintaining beneficiary access to the life-saving drugs provided under Medicare Part D,” said Chuck Ingoglia, senior vice president of the National Council for Behavioral Health, which is spearheading the group.

“Although we need to remain vigilant on this issue, we commend today’s action by CMS will allow millions of seniors to continue to confidently rely upon Medicare to provide them the drugs they need.”

This story was posted at 12:38 p.m. and updated at 5:40 p.m. and 8:37 p.m.



Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch...#ixzz2vkwDQZ1g
Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on Facebook
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Old 03-12-2014, 10:06 AM   #44
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