Capsules: Bipartisan Center Offers Plan To Reduce Health Spending; Despite Win, UnitedHealth Criticizes Medicare Rates, Eyes Pruning Business; Jonathan Bush Makes Case For Entrepreneurs In Health Care At TEDMED; Beginning End-Of-Life Care At The Dinner Table

Now on Kaiser Health News' blog, Mary Agnes Carey reports on a new budget plan released by the Bipartisan Policy Center: "Medicare beneficiaries would have access to better coordinated medical care and the current Medicare physician payment formula would be scrapped as part of a health care cost containment plan the Bipartisan Policy Center unveiled Thursday. The plan offers more than 50 recommendations that would cut the federal deficit by about $560 billion over the next decade. About $300 billion of those savings would come from Medicare" (Carey, 4/19).

In addition, Jay Hancock reports on UnitedHealth's earnings report and the company's warnings about Medicare Advantage: "If the Obama administration expected the biggest health insurance company to give thanks for this month's decision to reverse cuts to private Medicare plans, it was wrong. UnitedHealth Group CEO Stephen Hemsley said Thursday that Medicare Advantage rates are still far too low and that the company may shrink its business of managing care for seniors" (Hancock, 4/19). 

Also on the blog, Ankita Rao offers a pair of reports from TEDMED. First, Jonathan Bush and health care entrepreneurs: "Bush wants to know why entrepreneurs can come up with an entire Starbucks-style language and culture for coffee but have little traction in health care" (Rao, 4/18). Second, Michael Hebb and talking about end-of-life care: "Hebb wants you to pass the butter, and then talk about passing on. As the founder of 'Let's Have Dinner and Talk About Death,' he urged Americans to engage in a conversation about how they want to die, a conversation that could change the high cost of caring for the terminally ill and grant patients their ultimate requests" (Rao, 4/19). Check out what else is on the blog.

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