• These states want to import cheaper drugs from Canada
  • By Shefali Luthra, Kaiser Health News – Feb 15, 2018

    Norm Thurston is a “free-market guy” — a conservative health economist in Republican-run Utah who rarely sees the government’s involvement in anything as beneficial.

    But in a twist, the Utah state representative is now pushing the state to flex its muscle to spur federal action on ever-climbing prescription drug prices.

    “This is something that a red state like Utah could do,” Thurston said. “Those outrageous cost increases are not the result of the free market.”

  • President Trump signed these Medicare changes into law. Here’s what to watch for
  • By Philip Moeller; PBS News Hour ~ Feb 14 2018

    Seemingly overnight, big changes to Medicare morphed from being an item on various congressional wish lists into reality as part of last week’s budget deal, diverting me on my way to this week’s reader questions.

    The Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of the financial impact of the budget deal includes five pages of detailed health care changes, and I suspect there are others that have yet to be reported.

  • Opinion: Social Security will need more revenues — where should that money come from?
  • By Alicia H. Munnell; MarketWatch ~ Feb 12, 2018

    Should today’s workers have to bear the full burden?

    Social Security is unlikely to appear on the political docket until 2021. (2018 is a congressional election year; 2019 is the lead-up to the next presidential campaign; and 2020 is a presidential election year.) But it is not too early to start thinking about how to solve Social Security’s long-run financing shortfall.

  • 3 Sad Facts About Social Security
  • America’s most important social program isn’t in the best shape.

    By Sean Williams; The Motley Fool ~ Feb 10, 2018

    It could be rightly argued that Social Security is America’s most important social program. Not to take any light away from Medicare, but there’s simply no program out there more directly responsible for keeping retired workers out of poverty than Social Security. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Social Security’s monthly stipends ensure that 15.1 million seniors remain above the federal poverty line.

  • On drug costs, modest steps follow Trump’s big promises
  • By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar & Matthew Perrone; The Associated Press ~ Feb 10, 2018

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump makes big promises to reduce prescription drug costs, but his administration is gravitating to relatively modest steps such as letting Medicare patients share in manufacturer rebates.

    Those ideas would represent tangible change and they have a realistic chance of being enacted. But it’s not like calling for Medicare to negotiate drug prices.

  • Lower Drug Prices: New Proposals Carry Lots of Promises
  • By Katie Thomas and Reed Abelson, New York Times – Feb 9, 2018

    When it comes to high drug prices, President Trump and members of Congress have been long on promises but short on action.

    But that appears to be changing: The White House on Friday released a report recommending significant changes that would affect drug costs and the president’s budget proposal on Monday is expected to include some plans to expand drug coverage under Medicare.

  • Opinion: Today’s Massive Budget Deal Makes Big Medicare Changes
  • From Howard Gleckman; Forbes ~ Feb 09, 2018

    The huge two-year budget agreement reached by Congress early this morning will, for the first time, allow Medicare to pay for some long-term supports and services. Medicare managed-care plans, called Medicare Advantage (MA), can now include nonmedical services, such as home-delivered meals or rides to a doctor, in their benefit packages.

  • White House unveils proposals aimed at high drug prices
  • By Peter Sullivan; The Hill ~ Feb 09, 2018

    The Trump administration on Friday laid out its most in-depth proposal to fight high drug prices yet, acting on an area that is a high priority for President Trump but has seen little movement so far.

    A 28-page document released by the White House on Friday, ahead of the president’s budget proposal on Monday, lays out a range of policies aimed at making medication more affordable, also a top priority for the public in polling.

  • CMS Releases Proposed Medicare Advantage, Part D Changes
  • By Thomas Beaton; HealthPayer Intelligence ~ Feb 02, 2018

    February 02, 2018 – CMS has released the second part of its proposed Medicare Advantage (MA) and Medicare Part D changes, which include administrative upgrades to assist with combating the nation’s the opioid crisis and allowing payers to incorporate supplemental benefits into health plans.

    The proposed changes redefine health-related supplemental benefits by allowing payers to cover services including non-skilled in-home support, portable wheelchair ramps, and other assistive devices and modifications when patients need them.

  • This Flu Season Is Bad, But It May Make Healthcare Better
  • From Steve Brozak; Forbes ~ Feb 02, 2018

    We are in the midst of the most severe flu season in almost a decade. It’s estimated that 50,000 people will die this season from the flu, close to a million people will be admitted to hospitals, and the death toll for young children is expected to rise above the 37 who have already perished. Calling this flu season alarming is an understatement – it’s a crisis.

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