Category Issues Medicare Part D Articles Page 5
Should seniors with Medigap supplements that provide "first dollar coverage" be required to pay more up-front? Should Medicare continue to pay for services based on medical necessity, or should the government change to a system "based on evidence of the value of services?" Congress may be debating these questions this month when the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) issues its June report to Congress. The idea is to make Medicare beneficiaries "think twice" before scheduling doctor, outpatient services, or hospital stays in order to reduce government spending on Medicare. .The Congressional Budget Office recently issued a report stating that the federal budget will hit the debt limit and run out of cash early to mid-October. Some Congressional leaders have said they would like to vote on the budget and upcoming debt limit negotiations prior to the August recess. TSCL is fighting the proposal through national efforts from grass roots activists. To learn more, visit . .Sources: "Medicare Beneficiaries Sue US Over Hospital Stays," David Morgan, Reuters, November 3, 2011. … Continued
Congressional Corner Mccaskill Questions The Financial Relationship Between Doctors And Pharmaceuti
However, you don't need to read the 265-page report to understand why Medicare is going broke. Last year, Medicare spent 3 billion, but only took in 6 billion—leaving a billion deficit in just one year. With 10,000 new individuals becoming eligible each day, it's only going to get worse. .The findings come as the nation finds itself in a growing a retirement crisis. Even before the coronavirus - caused recession, the U.S. Government Accountability Office estimated that about 48 percent of households headed by people aged 55 and over had no retirement savings. That situation has been made even worse in 2020 and 2021 as older workers have lost jobs or seen their work schedules reduced due to the pandemic. .The President's favored nations rule has also upset conservative groups along with the industry and patient organizations. Some of those groups had launched a media campaign against the proposal before Trump actually announced it. … Continued
The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) will be monitoring CR discussions in the Senate in the coming hours and days, and we will post updates on Facebook and Twitter. In addition, we will continue to monitor ongoing budget discussions since they are expected to include plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act. As was noted in a recent legislation update, repealing the law would impact the Medicare program in several ways. For instance, progress that has been made to close the prescription drug "doughnut hole" would be reversed, and the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund that finances Medicare Part A would lose an important stream of funding that the law created. The Trust Fund could face immediate depletion if eliminated. .But a COVID-19 vaccine will have an actual price tag. And given the prevailing business-centric model of American drug pricing, it could well be budget breaking, perhaps making it unavailable to many. .This week, The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) announced its support for two new bills that would prevent a looming Medicare premium hike for around 15 million beneficiaries. In addition, one key bill gained a new cosponsor. .Congressman Elijah Cummings (MD-7) – Chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee – announced his committee's investigation into twelve of the largest pharmaceutical companies in January. He said, "The goals of this investigation are to determine why drug companies are increasing prices so dramatically, how drug companies are using the proceeds, and what steps can be taken to reduce prescription drug prices." The first hearing that his committee held in the 116th Congress examined the causes of rising drug prices. .Recently I got a notice that my bank account was overdrawn. When I checked with the bank, my Social Security direct deposit was never received. I called the local Social Security office and learned that a request in my name was made to switch from my direct deposit account to a prepaid debit card. I never authorized this. How safe are the direct deposits and what can I do to get my money back? .Congress was out of session this week because of the Presidents' Day holiday. Nearly all of those up for re-election (all of the House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate) were back in their home states and districts, most likely meeting with constituents and/or raising money for their campaigns. So although there was not a lot of news coming out of Congress, news was being made by the Trump administration. .How much would chaining the COLA cost you? Use TSCL's new Chained COLA Cut Calculator to calculate your loss. .The Senate Finance Committee recently passed The Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act out of committee and now it heads to the floor for further action. The bill, which has support of both Democrats and Republicans would, among other things, cap drug prices based on the rate of inflation. .An abrupt jump in inflation in February and March of this year wiped out a short-lived improvement in the buying power of Social Security benefits in 2020, according to TSCL's latest study on rising senior costs. The study, which compares the growth in the Social Security cost of living adjustments (COLA)s with increases in the costs of goods and services typically used by retirees, found that, while consumer prices flatlined in 2020 through January 2021, costs are now sharply increasing.