Obama Tries to Reach Out to Seniors to Cut Through Clutter on Medicare Changes

Monday, August 9th, 2010 - 12:37
Monday, August 9, 2010 - 11:52
We've written several times on this blog about how senior citizens are less supportive -- and more confused -- about health reform than any other demographic. This was recently demonstrated by a poll of senior citizens by the National Council on Aging.

Administration: Health Reform to Save $575 Billion in Medicare Spending Over 10 Years

Monday, August 2nd, 2010 - 15:04
Monday, August 2, 2010 - 14:11
An Obama administration report ( released today highlights the savings expected from several of the key cost-cutting plans in Medicare in what could be viewed as a status quo -- or perhaps optimistic -- view of the next decade under health reform. If everything goes according to plan, the report finds, $575 billion will be saved in the Medicare program over the next 10 years.

Do We Have a "Disease Industry" Instead of a Health Care System?

Saturday, July 31st, 2010 - 12:16
Saturday, July 31, 2010 - 11:41
Stephen Schimpff, the retired CEO of the University of Maryland Medical Center, writes in an interesting blog post that we will never gain control of rising health costs unless our system changes from one that reacts to diseases to one that focuses on health and prevention. He calls this a "disease industry" instead of a health care system. Read his post here: The post reiterates a familiar theme that the health care system is driven by payments for a greater and greater number of procedures. Schimpff has two proposals to stem the tide:

Orszag's Departure Reignites Controversy Over Health Reform's Medicare Cost Cutting Panel

Thursday, July 29th, 2010 - 15:05
Thursday, July 29, 2010 - 14:27
Today's Kaiser Health news report ( summarizes articles about the departure of Peter Orszag as head of the Office of Management and Budget and a new effort by Republicans to repeal an independent Medicare cost-cutting panel that became a part of health reform.

Health Reform Message Still Not Getting to Seniors?

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010 - 11:17
Tuesday, July 27, 2010 - 10:20
Poll results released by the National Council on Aging show that most Americans 65 and older cannot correctly identify the major changes to be brought about by health reform.

Obama Uses Recess Appointment to Put Berwick at Head of CMS

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010 - 10:14
Wednesday, July 7, 2010 - 09:47
The White House communications director has announced in a blog post that President Obama will use a recess appointment to place Don Berwick at the helm of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The GOP would certainly have put up a fight against Berwick, and the recess appointment tactic buys the administration some time to have Berwick make an impact at CMS before having to be confirmed by the Senate by the end of the next session of Congress.

CBO Shines Spotlight on Health Reform and the Debt

Thursday, July 1st, 2010 - 10:27
Thursday, July 1, 2010 - 10:07
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office’s recent long-term debt projections shine a harsh light back on the inescapable truth: the nation’s long-term debt situation is getting worse, the ballooning costs of government-funded health programs lie at the core, and the recently passed health reform bill isn’t making much of a dent in the problem. This unsurprising finding is, of course, setting up a nasty exchange of July

The "Doc Fix" is the Fix -- For Now

Friday, June 25th, 2010 - 8:02
Friday, June 25, 2010 - 07:48
The House on Thursday passed a bill, already approved by the Senate, that would avoid a 21 percent cut in the Medicare reimbursement rate for doctors for six months. Read more about the legislation in a New York Times story here.

"The Doc Fix" and Health Care Reform

Sunday, June 13th, 2010 - 12:30
Sunday, June 13, 2010 - 11:37
This week, the U.S. Senate will continue debating, and possibly vote, on a bill that has become a Christmas tree of tax provisions, unemployment benefit extensions, and the latest installment of a perennial debate over the Medicare "Doc Fix." Without action by the Senate, doctors who treat Medicare patients will see a 21-percent cut in their reimbursement rates.

Staffing the Health Care Overhaul

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010 - 7:55
Tuesday, June 1, 2010 - 07:39
The health reform law requires the US Department of Health and Human Services to go well beyond the important job of managing Medicare, Medicaid, and other government-sponsored health programs. The law calls upon HHS to set up a new high-risk pool, review insurance company rate increases, and provide assistance to states setting up Insurance Exchanges where people can buy coverage and receive federal subsidies.