Archive for December 2017
The House of Representatives will pursue entitlement spending cuts next year, House Speaker Paul Ryan recently explained on a radio program. That means Medicare, Medicaid, and possibly even Social Security. Ryan said that We’re going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit… Frankly, it’s the health care entitlements that are the big drivers of our debt, so we spend more time on the health care entitlements — because that’s really where the problem lies, fiscally speaking. Medicare and Medicaid cuts would be very harmful to Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals. Learn more about Ryan’s remarks, the administration’s priorities, and what other members of Congress are saying about entitlement cuts in this Washington Post story.
The uninsured do not use emergency rooms more than the insured. And the expansion of health insurance coverage increases rather than decreases ER use. So concludes the new Health Affairs study “The Uninsured Do Not Use the Emergency Department More – They Use Other Care Less.” Find the study here.
A bipartisan group of senators has written to Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer expressing concern about cuts in Medicare Medicare prescription drug payments to qualified providers as a result of new regulations governing the section 340B prescription drug discount program. Those cuts have been adopted by regulation by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and will take effect beginning on January 1, 2018. Under the regulation adopted by CMS, Medicare payments for prescription drugs dispensed on an outpatient basis to low-income patients will be reduced to qualified providers by $1.6 billion in the coming year. While acknowledging problems with how the 340B program has evolved over the years, the senators ask their leaders … Read More
Physicians who serve large numbers of low-income patients are more likely to incur penalties under Medicare value-based purchasing programs. So concludes a new study in Annals of Internal Medicine. According to the report, Performance differences between practices serving higher- and those serving lower-risk patients were affected considerably by additional adjustments, suggesting a potential for Medicare’s pay-for-performance programs to exacerbate health care disparities. This result is based on a study of the Medicare Value-Based Payment Modifier program, which no longer operates, but could have implications for other programs that seek to reward or penalize practitioners based on the outcomes they produce. Such findings could lead practitioners to avoid serving such patients so they can avoid penalties, which in turn could jeopardize … Read More