As annual Medicare open enrollment begins next week for more than 46 million Americans age 65 and older and an additional 9 million people with disabilities, there is moderately good news ahead for beneficiaries — at least for now. But Medicare advocates are alarmed about significant proposed changes to the program in just-released House and Senate budget proposals.
The House’s proposed fiscal 2018 budget, which passed on Thursday, would cut billions in mandatory program spending, raise the eligibility age for both Medicare and Social Security and encourage Medicare to model itself more like Medicare Advantage programs to control costs, according to an article in The Atlantic. Continue reading
The Congressional Budget Office released its analysis of the latest version of the American Health Care Act on Wednesday. There is a lot of uncertainty in implementation of the bill and what decisions each state would make so, of course, these are just estimates. But we’ve collected some of the coverage and statements about the CBO score to help our readers make sense of the key points. Continue reading
The Trump administration is doubling down on its goal of reshaping Medicaid financing and sharply reducing spending.
As we’ve noted before, the House version of the American Health Care Act would put a stop to the open-ended entitlement funding of Medicaid. States would either get a per capita cap (a yearly amount per person) or a block grant (a lump sum). The per capita cap would give states more flexibility as the economy cycles through good and bad periods. In slumps, when more people go on Medicaid, the amount would go up. The block grant amounts would rise by a pre-determined amount for 10 years, but states would have more flexibility in program design. Continue reading
May is Older Americans Month. It’s a perfect time to focus on programs and services funded through the Older Americans Act (OAA).
This legislation originally was part of President Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” initiative in 1965. It authorizes a wide array of services and programs provided through a national network of 56 state agencies on aging, 629 area agencies on aging, nearly 20,000 service providers, 244 tribal organizations, and two native Hawaiian organizations representing 400 tribes, according to the Administration on Aging. Importantly, many of the OAA’s provisions aim to allow seniors to age with dignity and independence. Continue reading
We’ve just posted a tip sheet to help you understand four main ways the big year-end tax and spending deal passed by Congress affected the Affordable Care Act.
The limits on paying health plans their full risk corridor payments (what Marco Rubio insists on calling an “insurance bailout”) was renewed for another year. Three taxes that helped finance the ACA – the Cadillac tax, the medical device tax and the health insurance tax – were delayed or suspended for two years (one year for the insurance levy.) The tip sheet explains them, looks a bit at what could happen next and includes links for more reading and analysis. We’re also updating the relevant sections of our health reform glossary and key concepts. Continue reading
While much of America was watching the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals battle it out for 14 long innings Tuesday night, House Republican leadership and the White House were battling out a budget compromise.
The agreement still must be approved by the full House and the Senate. Update: The House passed the bill with a 266 to 167 vote late Wednesday and the Senate approved it on Friday.
The bill funds federal government for the next two years and avoids a potential government shutdown. The deal plugs an impending hole in the Social Security disability trust fund. Without it, millions getting disability would have seen their benefits significantly cut. It also staves off a potentially historic increase in Medicare for Part B premiums for about 15 million beneficiaries.
The Medicare provision stalls a scheduled cut to the rates doctors get paid under Medicare by law for three months. Legislators hope to come up with a permanent fix to slow Medicare costs. Continue reading