Posts Tagged ‘Paul Ryan’

How Obama Plans to Save Medicare

March 12, 2013

By Tami Luhby, CNN

The White House often says President Obama has a plan for reforming entitlements, particularly Medicare.

However, the specifics of that proposal don’t spring to mind as easily as the reforms being bandied about in Republican circles, such as providing seniors with vouchers to pay for premiums or raising the retirement age.

That’s partly because Obama last laid out his reforms in February 2012 as part of his budget proposal. The president did little more than touch on these plans on the campaign trail last year and again in last month’s State of the Union address.

But as policy makers dig in for an extended battle on deficit reduction, Obama’s Medicare reform plans are likely to get a lot more attention soon. Rep. Paul Ryan is expected to release his budget, which will update the GOP’s proposals to rein in health care spending on the elderly, on Tuesday.

The president’s plan focuses mainly on reducing payments to drug companies and hospitals, though he would also raise revenue by asking wealthy seniors and new beneficiaries to pay more. All told, his reforms would cut health care spending by $400 billion, according to updated estimates by the White House.

Here’s are some of the key things that Obama would do: (more…)

Home Care, Tele-Medicine Cut Health Costs

March 11, 2013

By William E. Gibson, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

To understand how the health-care system sometimes fails patients and often wastes money, consider the case of a South Florida nursing-home patient who developed a cough and slight fever.

“The nurse notifies the doctor, who doesn’t get much information and says, ‘Send her to the emergency room,'” recounts Joseph Ouslander, associate dean for geriatric programs at Florida Atlantic University. “She has tests in the emergency room, some of which are falsely positive, and is admitted unnecessarily to the hospital, where she gets acute confusion and breaks her hip.

“It happens every day: An episode that could have cost Medicare a couple hundred bucks turns into one that costs closer to $20,000. So you are creating human misery, and you’re spending money.”

Striving to avoid such calamities, Ouslander and other health-care leaders in Florida are developing innovative methods to care for many patients in the comfort of their homes or in nursing homes instead of sending them on costly and risky trips to the hospital.

An FAU program trains nurses and advises thousands of nursing homes across the country about ways to detect problems and treat patients without always resorting to the emergency room. Farther north, Orlando Health is using physician interventions, “tele-medicine” and even old-fashioned house calls to keep people out of hospitals.

These Florida initiatives are tackling one of the biggest problems facing Congress and the nation: how to provide quality care at lower cost without raising taxes or cutting benefits. (more…)

Obamacare vs. Medicare: Considering the Future of Medicare Advantage

December 12, 2012

By Joe Klein, Time Magazine

The approach of the so-called fiscal cliff has unleashed a torrent of inanity in Washington. The cliff is an artificial impediment, a testimony to the ineptitude of the last Congress, an overreaction to our overhyped long-term deficit problem. I don’t want to see middle-class taxes raised, but I’m not convinced that there would be severe consequences if we took a Thelma and Louise. We would return to the Clinton-era tax rates, which some economists say would result in a recession. But that’s what economists were saying when the Clinton rates took effect in 1993 – and the economy boomed. The $500 billion in Pentagon cuts might be a welcome discipline for a department still buying Cold War – era hardware. The $500 billion in domestic-policy cuts would be more harmful, but not fatal.

On the other hand, there is real value in using this manufactured crisis to take a close look at health care entitlement reform in the coming year, not only because we will be spending an obscene amount of money providing for us baby boomers in our dotage, but also – and this is more important – because our current health care system is a convoluted, crazymaking mess. By 2014, we will have no fewer than four health care systems: Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare and private-employer-provided insurance. In the long term, this is probably three too many. There is zero chance that the situation will be rationalized, and united, anytime soon – and it shouldn’t be. We should drift into health care rationality over time. But we can begin to smudge the borders between the systems, especially between Medicare and Obamacare. “People on the right loathe Obamacare,” says Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, one of the sharpest health care policy minds in Congress, “but they want to do the exact same thing for Medicare.” (more…)

How Will the Election Change Medicaid?

October 10, 2012

The future of Medicaid – the state-federal workhorse of the nation’s health system that provides health coverage to the poorest and sickest Americans – hangs in the balance on Election Day.

President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney have vastly different approaches to the program. Medicaid is the backbone of the 2010 health law – considered Obama’s signature legislative achievement – which, starting in 2014, expands coverage to 30 million uninsured Americans. As many as 17 million of those newly insured citizens will be on Medicaid. Romney would turn over much control of the program to states and give them new powers to tailor benefits and eligibility to their own budget needs. Romney says such a move would begin saving $100 billion per year by 2016.

The following list of “frequently asked questions” provides more details on the presidential candidates’ plans for Medicaid. (more…)

Obama Pledges: No Vouchers for Medicare

September 7, 2012

By Joyce Frieden, MedPage Today

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – As it was on Tuesday and Wednesday, healthcare continued to be a central theme here as the Democratic Convention wrapped up on Thursday night, from the first speaker right up to President Obama.

Speaking of his opponent, Obama said that Mitt Romney’s approach to healthcare could be summed up this way: “since government can’t do everything, it should do almost nothing. If you can’t afford health insurance, hope that you don’t get sick.”

“You know what?” he said. “That’s not who we are. That’s not what this country’s about.” (more…)

Palm Beach County Woman Speaks for Medicare at DNC

September 6, 2012

Palm Beach County woman will speak for Medicare at DNC photoBy Andrew Abramson, The Palm Beach Post

About 15 years ago, Carol Berman exhausted virtually all of her assets to pay for long-term care for her Alzheimers-inflicted husband.

Finally faced with having to deplete her 401k to pay for his health care, she divorced him, although she continued to visit him daily at his nursing home.

The 77-year-old suburban West Palm Beach retiree will draw on that experience Thursday in remarks to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., meant to make her the face of Medicare for the Obama administration. (more…)

USA Today: Five Ways to Squeeze Medicare

October 3, 2011

Published in USA Today by Richard Wolf

WASHINGTON – Nearly 50 million people on Medicare, as well as those entering the program at a pace of one every eight seconds, are likely to get more than their money’s worth before they die.

The same can’t be said for anyone under 55 who will rely on the federal health care program for those 65 and older in the future. They face higher costs and, possibly, longer waits before they qualify for coverage.

Medicare — one of the most popular programs ever devised by the federal government — is on the chopping block. Again. (more…)