Trump to issue executive order aimed at strengthening Medicare
Administration officials said President Donald Trump would announce an executive order aimed at strengthening the Medicare program during a visit to a Florida retirement community Thursday. The executive order will encourage Medicare to increase use of telehealth services to reduce health care costs, direct government agencies to enable new plan pricing tools to incentivize high-value care in Medicare Advantage and align payments for traditional Medicare with those for MA plans, sources said.
Medicare Advantage payments to increase 2.53% in 2020
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will raise average payments to Medicare Advantage plans by 2.53% in 2020, higher than the 1.59% hike initially proposed by the agency. The agency will also give MA plans greater flexibility starting next year to offer supplemental benefits to help address social determinants of health for people with chronic conditions.
Healthcare Finance (4/1), Reuters (4/1), HealthLeaders Media (4/1)
(Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)
CMS Administrator Seema Verma said the “Medicare for all” idea being pushed by some Democrats would decimate doctor networks and create a permanent physician shortage because the program doesn’t cover full health care provider costs. “Under ‘Medicare for all,’ you either take private insurance away from those 170 million Americans, or greatly restrict access to it, meaning there is no relief valve for physicians facing up to 40% payment cuts,” Verma told attendees at AHIP’s Medicare conference in Washington.
Kaiser Health News (10/16), Modern Healthcare (tiered subscription model) (10/16)
ACA provisions are unconstitutional, Justice Dept. says
(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Legislation that repealed the penalty associated with the requirement that most Americans enroll in health coverage has made the mandate unconstitutional, the Justice Department wrote in a brief filed at a Texas court Thursday. The tax law passed last year also nullifies the Affordable Care Act’s provisions that prevent coverage denials for people with pre-existing conditions and block insurers from charging people in the same community different rates depending on their health status, age, gender and other factors.
HHS inspector general to examine drug price issues
The HHS Office of Inspector General plans to examine a variety of issues related to drug prices and potential waste of medicines. Among the issues the OIG will address are unexplained price jumps, use of wasteful single vials for cancer treatments, tying rebates under Medicare Part D to inflation, and billing practices for compounded topical treatments.
CMS acts to stem Medicare premium increases
(Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
The one-third of Medicare beneficiaries not covered by the “hold-harmless” provision will see a lower premium increase than originally projected, with consumers paying 10% in 2017, compared with projections of as much as 22% more. The CMS announced Thursday it would tap Medicare Part B program reserves to bring down premiums for those whose increases are not tied to Social Security cost of living adjustments.
The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (11/10)