Backgrounder posted September 4, 2014
Progress in Medicare Advantage: Key Lessons for Medicare Reform
Medicare Advantage (MA) is a program of competing private health plans. For the vast majority of senior citizens, it is the only viable alternative to enrollment in traditional Medicare. For Members of Congress, its record also provides valuable lessons for comprehensive Medicare reform.
MA is an increasingly attractive option for millions of senior and disabled…
Issue Brief posted August 1, 2014
The 2014 Medicare Trustees Report: A Dire Future for Seniors and Taxpayers Without Reform
The recently released annual Medicare trustees report reiterates a decades-old message: The Medicare program faces an unsustainable financial future. Unless the program is reformed, it will impose a huge financial burden on American taxpayers and jeopardize access to care for seniors.
While these facts are incontrovertible, the Obama Administration’s allies and some in…
Backgrounder posted April 28, 2014
Four Years of Obamacare: Early Warnings Come True
But we have to pass the bill, so you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of controversy.
—Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, March 9, 2010
It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.
—Chief Justice John Roberts, National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, June 28,…
Issue Brief posted March 14, 2014
Medicare SGR Replacement Is Not Worth More Deficit Spending
Congress is considering compromise legislation (H.R. 4015 and S. 2000) to repeal and replace the unworkable Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula for updating physician payments. Since 2003, Congress has prevented its own 1997 formula from going into effect because the Medicare physician payment cuts, often draconian, would threaten seniors’ access to medical…
Issue Brief posted March 11, 2014
Proposed Rules for Part D Would Create Undue Disruption for Seniors
The Obama Administration’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that it will not finalize controversial elements of its proposed Medicare rule. The proposed rule would have undercut patient choice and reduced the competition that controls costs in the Medicare drug program (Part D). Many key stakeholders and Members of Congress expressed…
Backgrounder posted February 3, 2014
CBO Confirms: Medicare Premium Support Means Savings for Taxpayers and Seniors
A major report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) confirms that Medicare premium support (a defined-contribution system of health-plan financing) would make the financially troubled federal program more fiscally sustainable.
The CBO finds that, in a new competitive system of health plans, private plans can offer the same benefit and services as traditional…
Issue Brief posted January 24, 2014
Replacing the Medicare SGR: Getting the Policy and the Financing Right
This year, Medicare physicians face a 24 percent pay cut. The reason: Congress updates Medicare doctors’ payments by a formula called the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR). While complex, the SGR formula attempts to limit the growth in Medicare physician payment to growth in gross domestic product (GDP). If physician payments are less than GDP growth in any given year, then…
Center for Policy Innovation Discussion Paper posted October 4, 2013
How to Think About Long-Term Care
Washington’s dizzying debate over the rising costs of huge federal entitlements, record spending, and dangerous debt obscures America’s next and perhaps most difficult challenge: the financing and provision of long-term care.
Long-term care encompasses a broad and complex spectrum of medical and social services for frail and elderly Americans, or persons with…
Backgrounder posted September 26, 2013
Obamacare’s Insurance Exchanges: “Private Coverage” in Name Only
Let’s be clear about the fact that nobody has proposed anything close to a government takeover of health care.
—President Barack Obama, August 20, 2009
Millions of Americans are expected to enroll in Obamacare’s national system of health insurance exchanges. And, for those seeking—or forced—to buy health insurance through these exchanges, the coverage will be…
Backgrounder posted August 2, 2013
Congress in the Obamacare Trap: No Easy Escape
High anxiety is gripping Capitol Hill. The reason: On January 1, 2014, Members of Congress and their staff will lose their current employment-based health insurance and will instead be offered coverage in the health insurance exchanges established under the new health care law.
In April, Politico reported that “Congressional leaders in both parties are engaged in…