Report Examines Medicare Spending Issues, Geographic Disparities And Hospital Payments

The report from the congressional advisory group MedPAC assesses a variety of issues, including penalties that Medicare has recently begun imposing on hospitals and how that affects facilities largely serving poor patients.

CQ HealthBeat: MedPAC Report Tackles Premium Support, Bundling, Readmissions, Site Neutral Payment
This year's version of the Medicare Payment Advisory Committee's June report to Congress, released Friday, addresses a variety of problems in the program ranging from overall spending growth to wildly varying levels of outpatient therapy spending in different parts of the country. It's far from the mother lode of potential payment offsets that more often is found in MedPAC's other major report to Congress each March (Reichard, 6/14).

Kaiser Health News: Panel Tells Congress Medicare Is Unfairly Penalizing Hospitals Serving The Poor
The financial penalties that Medicare imposes on hospitals with high rates of patient readmissions are too harsh for hospitals serving the poor and should be changed, according to a congressional advisory agency (Rau, 6/14).

In other Medicare news -

CQ HealthBeat: CMS Tells States To Pay Cost Sharing For Duals
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is cracking down on state Medicaid programs that have not met their duty to reimburse medical providers for cost sharing for some low-income beneficiaries who also get Medicare. CMS officials said in a recent bulletin that "state Medicaid agencies have a legal obligation to reimburse providers for any Medicare cost sharing that is due" for those patients who are dually eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid (Adams, 6/14).

Roll Call: In Spending Debate, Baby Boomer Issue Remains A Headache For Legislators
When Congress created Medicare in 1965 to handle the health care needs of the older population, less than 10 percent of Americans were old enough to collect Social Security and the new medical benefit. Since then, the share of Americans 65 and older has soared, from 9.3 percent in 1965 to 13.7 percent in 2012 (Krawzak, 6/14).

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