“Call it drugs for the departed: A quirky bureaucratic rule led Medicare’s prescription drug program to pay for costly medications even after the patients were dead.
That head-scratching policy is now getting a second look.
A report released Friday by the Health and Human Services Department’s inspector general said the Medicare rule allows payment for prescriptions filled up to 32 days after a patient’s death — at odds with the program’s basic principles, not to mention common sense.”
“Health insurers increasingly are building and staffing bricks-and-mortar retail centers to potentially expand their membership base and, most importantly for now, enhance their brand image with the public.
The retail approach represents a major pivot in insurer tactics to grow their books of business brought on by changes in how consumers get insurance thanks to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”
“Republicans have been eerily quiet about the president’s health care law on the campaign trail lately. But that’s likely to change if the GOP is victorious and wins control of the Senate next week.Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), told Fox News this week that taking aim at Obamacare is at the top of his list of priorities that he wants the Senate to address next year. If the senator wins his fiercely competitive re-election campaign and the GOP clenches a Senate majority, he will likely take over as the majority leader—having the luxury of calling as many repeal Obamacare votes as he wants.”
“Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the state’s largest health insurer, said Thursday that about 42,000 customers around the state received insurance renewal letters with incorrect rates, some showing cost increases of more than 100 percent.
The Chapel Hill company has been flooded with calls since Wednesday from irate customers who began receiving their renewal notices this week. Blue Cross officials soon realized the insurance rates were incorrectly transferred from the company’s database to the computer-generated renewal notices.”
“Remember when Democrats insisted they’d run in the midterms on the success of ObamaCare? Good times, good times. Granted, the last time Debbie Wasserman-Schultz uttered that bon mot was almost a year ago, and it was so ridiculous a notion even at that time (while the rollout melted down) that the DNC chair had to reiterate it three days later. Her Democratic colleagues in the House tried following through in January with an ad filled with anecdotes about all of the successes of the Affordable Care Act, which ran for, oh … sixty-six seconds. By April, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer backtracked to an argument that ObamaCare would have no impact on the election at all. Hoyer also said that Democrats would pick up seats in November.”
“When Tony Smith lost his job as a corporate paralegal two years ago, a state program stepped in to help him keep his health insurance — and the expensive drugs his life had depended on since his 2008 HIV diagnosis.
Now Smith, 42, of Coral Springs, has been told he must sign up for coverage on Florida’s federally run insurance exchange or the state will stop helping him pay his premiums.
“The landscape of healthcare has changed, and with the passage of the Affordable Care Act we have the opportunity to access and enroll in cost-effective health plans,” an official at the AIDS Insurance Continuation Program wrote in a letter to Smith and other AICP beneficiaries.
But it is not clear that ACA insurance plans will be cheaper — or even affordable — for those with HIV and AIDS, according to patient advocates.”
“Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says he would be willing to repeal Obamacare with a simple majority if he takes over as majority leader in January, his spokesman told the Washington Examiner on Thursday.
The announcement comes just days before Tuesday’s midterm congressional election, in which Republicans have a strong chance of seizing the upper chamber from the Democrats and putting the Kentucky senator in charge.”
“Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, the law has been an often potent and divisive political issue, and has sparked an unprecedented amount of political and campaign advertising, particularly from candidates and groups that oppose the law. According to Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group (CMAG), no other federal program or policy has resulted in the kind of advertising the ACA has caused, namely the combination of new insurance “product” advertising and sustained political advertising across multiple election cycles.”
“Long gone are the days of Democratic chest-thumping about “running on” Obamacare in 2014. That boast was abruptly replaced with assertions that the issue was receding from the scene and wouldn’t really benefit either party. As it turns out, candidates on one side of the aisle has been talking quite a lot about the healthcare law on the campaign trail and in ads, while the other side has been notably tight-lipped. And now Politico finally states the obvious:
…Not only did the political benefits that Democrats thought the 2010 law would eventually bring them not materialize, opposition has only grown, according to an analysis of multiple polls taken between 2010 and last month. “There have been backlashes, but never like this,” said Robert Blendon, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and co-author of the analysis released Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine. That backlash doesn’t appear directed at the mechanics of the law but at its underlying core principle. Only 47 percent of Americans agree that it’s the government’s job to make sure everyone has health coverage, down from 69 percent in 2006, the analysis found. That shift is particularly pronounced among likely voters. Of those who are most likely to show up at the polls on Nov. 4, one in four believe in this principle.”