You may have heard news yesterday that the federal government has released a greater level of detail on the prices hospitals charge for a list of common procedures and how widely those prices vary - not only from state to state but within states, and even within the same city. The data comes from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (or CMS), from 3000 hospitals nationwide.
In last night's State of the Union address, President Barack Obama mentioned health care five times (by my count). One, later in the address, referred to making sure military veterans get the mental health care they need. The other mentions had to do with Medicare: as the nation ages, it's the biggest contributor to our nation's deficit.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) published an op-ed on Politico Tuesday urging President Obama not to agree to any Medicare cuts in the fiscal cliff negotiations. The reason: reforming the health care system, including the way we deliver and pay for health care, will add up to all the savings we need.
A new study in the journal Academic Medicine provides one of the first looks at a program created by the Affordable Care Act in 2010 to train more primary care doctors. It’s a pretty different model than the traditional one, where the government, through Medicare, makes payments to teaching hospitals to help fund graduate medical education (like a residency program for doctors-in-training).
The Association of American Medical Colleges has launched a new ad campaign, running in newspapers near the sites of upcoming presidential debates, calling for an increase in funding for graduate medical education. The group is trying to draw attention to what it sees as a crisis in the making: the current limit on the number of federally funded residency programs could, it says, lead to doctor shortages. It's just the latest in a series of movements on the GME front.
As part of his effort to separate himself from congressional Republicans, Brendan Doherty held a news conference outside Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket this morning. He offered what his campaign calls, via news release, an “ironclad pledge”:
Confused by that number you keep hearing from the candidates in connection with Medicare – $716 billion dollars? Who’s cutting what? Which side is right? Kaiser Health News‘ Mary Agnes Carey cuts through the campaign clutter for you with an excellent FAQ.
There’s a lot of buzz about Medicare, the nation’s health insurance program for seniors and the disabled, right now. I wonder how Rhode Island’s Medicare recipients are reading all of this. Confusion? Concern? Here are some of the stories I’ve been following and my best effort at sorting fact from fiction:
Under the health care reform act, many preventive services like diabetes screenings, bone mass measurement, and so-called “Wellness” visits are now available for free (no co-payment) to Medicare recipients. (Medicare is health coverage for people over age 65.