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The widening budget deficit announced in recent days has sparked conversation among Republicans of cutting budgets and look for trims to entitlement programs. The Democrats are seizing on the tone shift, and using the potential changes to Medicare, Medicaid and other safety net programs as talking points on the campaign trail.
Fact checkers comb through President Donald Trump’s opinion piece on the Democrats’ “Medicare For All” plan and flag many of the president’s points that misstate facts about the current Medicare program, Medicare For All’s potential impact on seniors, preexisting conditions, and the cost of the plan, among other things.
The settlement cites improper medical coding by California-based HealthCare Partners from early 2007 through the end of 2014. According to the settlement, the company, which is part of giant dialysis company DaVita Inc., submitted “unsupported” diagnostic codes that allowed the health plans to receive higher payments than they were due.
Former President Barack Obama spoke about Democrats’ ideas like “Medicare For All.” Meanwhile, Republicans are using the plan to attack their opponents, saying it will jeopardize Medicare’s current beneficiaries.
Beginning in January 2019, Anthem Medicare Advantage members will be able to use their insurance for over-the-counter drugs, first-aid and other such supplies.
HHS Secretary Alex Azar criticized the plan only a day after CMS Administrator Seema Verma said that it would become “Medicare For None” if the system were enacted. “Medicare is running out of other people’s money, and those other people happen to be our children,” Azar said. The secretary also spoke about plans for overhauling the Medicare billing structure.
CMS Administrator Seema Verma said a “Medicare-For-All” system would divert attention away from seniors, and warned that people would be giving up complete control of their care to the government. Verma gave the speech in California, where the issue is a hot-button topic in the gubernatorial election.
CMS Administrator Seema Verma says the goal is to cut down on paperwork and free up physicians’ time. But critics say the proposal would underpay doctors who care for those with the greatest medical needs, and possibly discourage them from taking on Medicare patients.
The hospitals that brought the suit said Medicare had been using the flawed data since 1983. The federal government tried to bar their claims, saying hospitals should not be able to challenge factual determinations made many years ago. “Saving money is a laudable goal,” Judge Brett Kavanaugh said, “but not one that may be pursued by using phony facts to shift costs onto the backs of hospitals.”
While its not clear the measure would actually get to the floor before the midterm elections, the House Budget Committee’s blueprint shows where Republicans’ priorities lie in the coming years. The budget plan would remake Medicare by giving seniors the option of enrolling in private plans that compete with the traditional program.