Medicare Articles


The End-of-Life Bureaucracy

Medicare and advance directives.
Dec 07, 2015

The federal technocracy, like the old B-horror-movie monster The Blob, grows by sucking all surrounding life into its amoeba-like digestive system. There are never enough bureaucratic controls or government programs to “incentivize” us—in the jargon—to behave in ways the technocrats think best.

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Medicare and Medical Futility

Who decides to discontinue treatment?
Nov 16, 2015

The media are cooing over the news that Medicare will reimburse doctors $86 for half-hour consultations about the kind of treatment patients would—or would not—want should they become incapacitated. Such coverage was slated to be part of Obamacare, but was dropped after it became controversial when Sarah Palin warned against “death panels.” 

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Carly: Trump Wrong on Planned Parenthood

And Kasich wrong to expand Medicaid.
12:50 PM, Aug 12, 2015

Carly Fiorina says she disagrees with her Republican rival for president Donald Trump on the issue of Planned Parenthood. Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity on Tuesday that "we have to look at the positive also for Planned Parenthood" and said abortions were just a "small part" of what the organization provides.

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The Fix Is In

Unreformable Medicare.
Apr 20, 2015

On March 23, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a permanent “doc fix.” Now it heads to the Senate, where it is expected to pass easily. This bipartisan effort will end the yearly ritual of bypassing Medicare reforms imposed by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. Much of professional Washington greeted it with a cheer—a sign that comity in the capital is still possible.

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27.49% of Everyone's Tax Bill Is Spent on Health Care

Share of Each Taxpayer Dollar Spent on Health Care Up 22 Percent Since 2012.
6:43 AM, Apr 16, 2015

Every year since 2011, the White House has used tax time to post a "Federal Taxpayer Receipt" showing taxpayers how their federal tax dollars are being spent.

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Medicare and The Liberal Cocoon Around American History

6:00 AM, Feb 20, 2015

It is said that history is written by the victors. Maybe so, but in the United States over the last century, history has largely been written by the liberals. This inevitably leads to bias, which inevitably operates on even the most impartial of minds. While most historians try to be fair and judicious, the fact that the overwhelming majority of them are on the left generates an inexorable tilt to the American historical narrative.

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Don’t Just Replace Obamacare—Replace the Great Society

6:45 AM, Sep 04, 2014

Given that I’ve probably published more articles critical of Obamacare than anyone alive, I’m often asked to speak to conservative audiences about our new health law.

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How 'Explanatory Journalism' Gets Medicare Wrong

12:47 PM, Jul 30, 2014

As I've made pretty clear, I am not a fan of the "explanatory journalism" trend that purports to take an empirical approach to explaining complex issues. Its chief practitioners are a bunch of young, terribly biased journalists who tend to treat politics and policy as some sort of game, even as they broadcast their ignorance. Anyway, if you want a concise example of why explanatory journalism is bad—so pure and crystalline it could have been produced by Walter White—let me direct you to this Vox.com piece on Medicare. 

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Landrieu: Cassidy Wants to Hurt Seniors

But the Louisiana Democrat supported similar changes to federal programs.
2:14 PM, Jul 15, 2014

The Mary Landrieu campaign is out with a new hit against the Louisiana Democrat's Republican opponent, Congressman Bill Cassidy. The 30-second ad focuses on Cassidy's support for policies that supposedly hurt senior citizens. Watch the video below:

"It was Congressman Bill Cassidy who voted to raise the Social Security retirement age to 70, cut Social Security benefits for retirees, and raise Medicare costs by $6,000," says the voiceover.

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Pryor in 2011: Raise the Retirement Age

3:03 PM, Jun 04, 2014

Senator Mark Pryor is making entitlements an issue in the Arkansas Senate race. Both Pryor and his Democratic allies are hitting Republican nominee and House member Tom Cotton over his support for a budget proposal that would have, starting in 2022, gradually raised the retirement age for receiving Social Security and Medicare benefits.

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The Great Society at Fifty

What LBJ wrought
May 19, 2014

May 22, 2014, marks the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s “Great Society” address, delivered at the spring commencement for the University of Michigan. That speech remains the most ambitious call to date by any president (our current commander in chief included) to use the awesome powers of the American state to effect a far-reaching transformation of the society that state was established to serve. It also stands as the high-water mark for Washington’s confidence in the broad meliorative properties of government social policy, scientifically applied.

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Healthcare.gov: 'Health Insurance With Medicaid Is The Perfect Mother's Day Gift'

10:02 AM, May 13, 2014

On Sunday, the White House blog declared that Obamacare made this Mother's Day "particularly special."  On Monday, the Obamacare website Healthcare.gov got into the act, suggesting that "Health insurance with Medicaid is the perfect Mother’s Day gift":

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Makers of Healthcare.gov Develop New Press Response Strategy

'No One Likes to Watch the Daily Show Make Fun of HHS'
8:01 AM, May 01, 2014

In October 2013, as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), a division of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), was launching Healthcare.gov, CMS also launched a quieter initiative. As part of Ignite, an internal HHS program designed to spur innovation, a team within CMS's press office designed a system to help CMS communicate more quickly and efficiently with the press.

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Feds Begin Fingerprinting 'High Risk' Medicare Providers and Suppliers

6:06 AM, Apr 15, 2014

Four years after Obamacare became law, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is notifying Medicare providers and suppliers of new fingerprint-based background checks.  Eventually, all individuals who hold a five percent or greater stake in a Medicare supplier or provider that is categorized as "high risk" will be subject to the requirement.

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Obamacare Contractor Blamed for Slow Medicare Payments to Hospitals

7:39 AM, Jan 02, 2014

The contractor building the financial management system for Healthcare.gov is being blamed by a Houston hospital for delayed Medicare reimbursements that have caused the hospital to miss payrolls for weeks. Novitas Solutions is the federal government's new Medicare payment processor for the south-central region of the country hired by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), a division of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS.)  ABC-KTRK in Houston reports:

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Obamacare 'Back End' Contractor Also Runs Troubled Medicare Website

8:36 AM, Dec 19, 2013

 

As the October 1 launch of Healthcare.gov drew closer, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) realized it was in trouble.

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Medicare Pays $8.6 Billion to Doctors, Hospitals for Electronic Health Records Switch

1:21 PM, Oct 25, 2013

The Obamacare website Healthcare.gov has been grabbing all the headlines lately, but another aspect of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may come under increased scrutiny in the weeks and months ahead: Electronic Health Records (EHR).

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HHS: Gay Spouses Eligible for Key Medicare Benefits

1:48 PM, Aug 29, 2013

The Department of Health and Human Services released a statement today saying that gay spouses are now eligible for key Medicare benefits. The announcement is presented as "guidance" for "implementing Supreme Court’s decision on the Defense of Marriage Act."

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Audit: Medicare Paid 80 Percent of Unqualified Claims in Some Cases

2:29 PM, Aug 08, 2013

A recent audit by the Office of the Inspector General for Health and Human Services found that in four out of five cases when elective surgeries were cancelled for one reason or another, Medicare still paid even though the claims submitted by the hospitals failed the "reasonable and necessary" standard.

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Detroit May Shift Retiree Health Care Costs to Obamacare, Taxpayers

Unintended consequences.
7:01 AM, Jul 29, 2013

The bankrupt city of Detroit may have found a way out of its health care woes for its retired city workers: shifting the costs to taxpayers nationwide via Obamacare. If Detroit and other struggling municipalities follow through, the result could be a "huge cost" to taxpayers.  The New York Times has the story:

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Jan Brewer’s Obamacare Deception

4:04 PM, Jun 18, 2013

At least for now (although a statewide referendum may be pending), Arizona governor Jan Brewer, a Republican, has succeeded in her efforts to implement a key part of Obamacare in her state.

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In the Long Run ...

11:17 AM, Jun 01, 2013

The recent news on the economy, in general, and deficits, in particular, has been encouraging.  Seems the clumsy blend of tax increases and reduced spending – aka the sequester – brought in more revenue and reduced spending.  Funny how that works.

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Out of Balance

Obama’s deceptive budget.
Apr 29, 2013

Earlier this month, President Obama released his fiscal year 2014 budget, which calls for $1.1 trillion in higher taxes over the next decade, cuts of $400 billion from Medicare and Medicaid, and alterations to Social Security’s benefit rate worth about $130 billion. 

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A Great Nation Retires

9:00 PM, Mar 18, 2013

Robert Samuelson's fine column in the Washington Post, “America the retirement home,” argues that “The budget debate’s central reality is that federal retirement programs, led by Social Security and Medicare, are crowding out most other government spending,” and that this is endangering the other important functions of government, including defense:

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Republicans Hit Obama, Jack Lew for Violating the Law on Medicare

8:35 AM, Feb 06, 2013

It’s an old basketball adage that teams that apply a full-court press don’t like to be pressed themselves. They like to force the action, not have it forced on them.  In a similar vein, those who seek to centralized power by spearheading the passage of new federal laws generally don’t like to obey those laws themselves.  Laws are something for other people to dutifully obey — less important people.  

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Ryan: Obama 'Shadowboxing a Straw Man'

1:01 PM, Jan 22, 2013

Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan knocked President Barack Obama for "shadowbox[ing] a straw man" in his inaugural address. Speaking Tuesday morning on the Laura Ingraham Radio Show to guest host Raymond Arroyo, Ryan responded to Obama's statement that Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security "do not make us a nation of takers, they free us to take the risks that make this country great."

Ryan called Obama's insinuation that he and other reform-minded Republicans consider recipients of these benefits "takers" a "switcheroo."

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Line in the Sand

5:35 PM, Jan 16, 2013

The head of the AARP has stated clearly where his organization stands on the matter of cutting entitlements. As Kate Ackley reports in Roll Call:

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Doctors vs. Hospitals

12:51 PM, Jan 02, 2013

Among the many items bundled into the fiscal cliff fix there was another delay in implementing cuts to physician payments for Medicare services.  It wasn't hard, though.  Congress has had plenty of practice handling what is called the "doc fix," since it has been doing it almost routinely for the last decade.

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W.H. Won't Touch Medicare Eligibility Age

1:45 PM, Dec 13, 2012

President Barack Obama won't touch the eligibility age for Medicare, Senator Dick Durbin told reporters. The AP reports:

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Woodward: 'There's a Civil War in the Democratic Party'

9:05 AM, Dec 12, 2012

Journalist Bob Woodward explained this morning on CBS that "there's a civil war in the Democratic party":

"There's a civil war in the Democratic party," said Woodward. "You had Nancy Pelosi on, saying, oh, we're not going to change the eligibility age for Medicare. And down at the White House they very much want to do that."

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