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Older Articles

  • A June 9 Dallas Morning News piece entitled "Filling in the Medicare doughnut hole is a sticky issue" says AARP and other advocates for older adults are calling on Congress to get rid of the "doughnut hole" or coverage gap in Medicare's drug benefit as part of the lawmakers' broader efforts to reform health care. The gap in coverage forces beneficiaries to pay the full cost of their drugs. Eliminating it would probably reap savings for Medicare over the long run, since it would keep seniors on their prescriptions and out of the hospital, said Vicki Gottlich, a senior policy attorney for the Center for Medicare Advocacy.
  • A February 26 US News & World Report blog post entitled "Obama Budget Squeezes Medicare—and Wealthier Seniors" says President Obama's budget proposal to create a $634 billion fund to finance health care reform would halt the higher payments that the government gives insurers who cover Medicare beneficiaries through private Medicare Advantage plans. The budget also proposes that wealthy seniors pay more for their drug coverage. Advocates are concerned that the higher premiums may drive seniors who don't need any pricey drugs out of the program altogether, leaving poorer, sicker seniors behind and driving up their costs. Moreover, given the thousands of plans offering various levels of coverage for different prices already, says Vicki Gottlich, senior policy attorney with the Center for Medicare Advocacy, segmenting the program further "could be an administrative nightmare."
     
  • A February 22 Hartford Courant letter to the editor from the Center for Medicare Advocacy’s executive director, Judith Stein, urges Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell to attend hearings on her proposed budget to make informed decisions in these difficult times.  Stein, who has heard heart-wrenching and inspiring testimony from people who will be directly affected by proposed budget cuts, says, "The budget will cut lifelines for millions of our fellow citizens. The governor cannot imagine what her budget proposals will mean to Connecticut's people without hearing their stories." 
     
  • Click here http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/ to read a February 9 article from American Medical News, "Direct negotiation of Medicare drug prices gains momentum."  According to the piece, the Medicare Prescription Drug Savings and Choice Act of 2009 was introduced in the House and Senate in late January, and it includes a proposal to give the federal government the authority to negotiate Medicare prescription drug prices directly with pharmaceutical manufacturers.  The Center for Medicare Advocacy said the bill would make prescription drug coverage more affordable for beneficiaries and taxpayers. In addition, a new appeals process in the bill would protect beneficiaries by ensuring timely access to non-formulary drugs when medically necessary. (This was also covered in CQ HealthBeat, the Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, and Medical News Today). 
  • Click here http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/ to read "Medicare closes off WellPoint's drug plan" a January 26 article from American Medical News. According to the piece, thousands of Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in WellPoint's prescription drug plan have been denied access to medications because of internal problems with the company’s systems.  The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has suspended WellPoint from enrolling beneficiaries in their plans.  One AIDS patient contacted Jocelyne Watrous of the Center for Medicare Advocacy when she found she was no longer eligible for her medications, an apparent result of WellPoint computer glitches. "The pharmacist told her there were several similar cases like that," Watrous said.
     
  • Click here http://seniorjournal.com/ to read "Medicare Advocacy Groups Join to Blast CMS for Promoting Private Advantage Plans; Organizations says it is ‘last-ditch effort’ to privatize Medicare by Bush administration" a January 12 article from Senior Journal. The piece says advocates for Medicare beneficiaries are criticizing actions by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (the government agency that administers the Medicare program), which are designed to "assure continued leniency in the oversight of private plans for at least another year and as a last-ditch effort to promote private Medicare Advantage plans."  Articles related to this issue also ran in Congressional Quarterly and Medical News Today.
     

  • Click here http://www.newsday.com/ to read "New questions about AARP's growing insurance business" a "Gray Matters" column that appeared in Newsday on January 10.  According to the piece, the sale of one of AARP’s health insurance policies has been suspended and is under congressional scrutiny.  Medicare advocates – including Judith Stein of the Center for Medicare Advocacy – say AARP's prescription drug and Medicare Advantage insurance business pose a conflict of interest and undermine traditional Medicare.
     

  • Click here http://www.connpost.com/ to read "Dodd to hear health care concerns" an article from the January 8 Connecticut Post.  According to the article, Sen. Chris Dodd hopes to bring Tom Daschle to Connecticut later this month as Democrats look to improve access and affordability to a system they have long sought to reform.  Dodd is holding a "Connecticut Prescriptions for Change" listening tour – a series of meetings focused on health care, and will be joined at the first meeting by Judith Stein, executive director of the Center for Medicare Advocacy.
     
  • Click here http://www.pottstownmercury.com/ to read "How your hospital stay is classified is important to know" a January 6 column that appeared in Pennsylvania-based newspapers Pottstown Mercury and Phoenixville News.  The Center for Medicare Advocacy recently reported a disturbing trend: Medicare beneficiaries are staying in the hospital for as long as 14 days under the classification of "observation" and not as a hospital admission. The failure to admit beneficiaries to the hospital may translate into less coverage for them, and patients who are later transferred to nursing homes may not qualify for Medicare coverage.
     
  • CMA In the News 2008

  • CMA In the News 2007

  • CMA In the News 2006

  • CMA In the News 2005

  • CMA In the News 2004

  • CMA In the News 2003

 
 


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