Politics Progressives rally around Medicare with cuts to health package looming

02:37  14 october  2021
02:37  14 october  2021 Source:   politico.com

Ban on negotiating Medicare drug prices under pressure

  Ban on negotiating Medicare drug prices under pressure WASHINGTON (AP) — Donna Weiner looks at Medicare’s prescription drug program from two different points of view. As a participant, she wants to pay less for her medicines, which cost her about $6,000 a year. As a retired accountant who spent 50 years handling the books for companies, she sees a way to get there. “You know from working in a business that it makes no sense for an administrator of a plan or a company not to be involved in what they have to pay out,” said Weiner, who lives near Orlando, Florida. For Medicare “to negotiate those prices down would be thousands of dollars back in my pocket every year,” she said.

On the eve of scheduled marches and rallies in support of Medicare for All, led by various organizations such as the Sunrise Movement, Physicians for a National Health Program, the Democratic Socialists of America and concerned citizens throughout the country, the interview below with C.J. Polychroniou: U.S. health care is widely regarded as an outlier, with higher costs and worse outcomes than other countries. Why are health care expenditures in the U.S. significantly higher than those of other industrialized countries? And how do we explain poor health outcomes, including life

Budget Cuts . Medicare , the U.S. government’s health -care program for the elderly and disabled, pays more than 0 billion a year to hospitals. The proposed payment changes would raise payouts for hospital care by about million next year, including programs that aim to CMS also lessened the effect of a mandatory budget cut related to the Affordable Care Act. The agency proposed a 0.8 percent cut for “coding recovery,” which according to Tanquilut, was less than half the reduction in some investors’ projections. “We are pleased that in today’s rule CMS has used its discretion to dampen the

The push to cut more than $1 trillion from Democrats’ social spending bill and possibly scrap a planned expansion of Medicare presents the biggest test to date of the Congressional Progressive Caucus’ clout.

Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal is making the case that adding dental, vision and hearing benefits to traditional Medicare will address pressing health needs for seniors. © Drew Angerer/Getty Images Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal is making the case that adding dental, vision and hearing benefits to traditional Medicare will address pressing health needs for seniors.

The 96 members, who account for nearly half of the House majority, showed their strength last month by delaying a bipartisan infrastructure bill until party leaders finish work on the social policy package H.R. 5376 (117). But the coming weeks could prove much tougher, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi intent on trimming the number of programs in the bill and cutting back on how long certain others will be funded to pare the $3.5 trillion price tag to a figure that centrist Democrats would support.

Insurers look to make Dems' latest pay-for plan politically toxic

  Insurers look to make Dems' latest pay-for plan politically toxic Industry-allied groups have spent $2.6 million on television advertisements opposing cuts to Medicare Advantage since the spring.The growing focus on generating savings from the private insurers in the Medicare Advantage program comes as Democrats look for ways to pay for their roughly $2 trillion domestic spending package, and after repeated efforts to curb rising drug prices and raise taxes on the wealthy stalled amid opposition from a handful of House and Senate centrists.

A health care industry source close to the Capitol Hill negotiations said in addition to the fears that expansion states would resent Democrats for providing free coverage to people in the holdout states, they also worry Republican state leaders will try to spin it to their benefit. Lawmakers and advocates told POLITICO that the Biden administration’s call for a 0 billion investment in home care is also in the crosshairs as negotiators look for places to cut the cost of the overall bill. Language that passed out of committee in the House cut the figure to 0 billion, and some in the Senate have pushed for as

Capitol Hill lawmakers received a direct response to a proposed 9% cut to Medicare payment in the form of over 47,000 members of the physical therapy profession. The association’s rally effort sparked an estimated 47,000 communications with lawmakers in the span of just a few days. The rally is just the latest in ongoing efforts to stop implementation of the cuts , which CMS says are necessary to increase payment for evaluation and management visits to primary care providers and others while maintaining budget neutrality required by law.

Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) is making the case that adding dental, vision and hearing benefits to traditional Medicare will address pressing health needs for seniors and yield political dividends for Democrats in the midterm elections. The message, which the lawmakers delivered on a Zoom call with White House officials last week, is being amplified by outside groups, including the Service Employees International Union, Indivisible and the Working Families Party.

“We have no intention of backing down,” Jayapal said on a call with advocates Tuesday night. Addressing the possibility of fewer health programs in the bill, she said, “A lot of people have asked: ‘Isn’t something better than nothing?’ And the answer, quite simply, is no. Because when it comes down to something rather than nothing, it’s the same people who are forced to settle for nothing over and over and over again.”

Means testing is the wrong approach to Medicare expansion

  Means testing is the wrong approach to Medicare expansion Seniors have been waiting long enough for dental, vision, and hearing coverage. Now that Congress is finally poised to expand the program, lawmakers must ensure that any new benefits are available to everyone on Medicare. That's how Medicare has worked since its enactment 56 years ago - and how it became one of the most popular and successful federal programs. By no means does means testing of benefits have any place in Medicare.Max Richtman is president and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare in Washington, D.C.

Medicare Cuts highlights cuts in payment rates for the year. Learn more about the issues and laws at the AMA. Over 70% of nation’s health insurance markets are highly concentrated. New Biden administration rule represents a gift to the insurance industry.

“ Progressives were Biden’s best friend this week for keeping the ceiling high,” said Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. “The standard is going to be less about a dollar amount and more, are we funding all the key priorities Democrats promised for a viable Zac Petkanas, a senior adviser for advocacy group Invest in America Action, which has been working to pass the reconciliation package , acknowledged that Biden told progressives to expect less. But, he argued, he also told moderates they had to give more. “This was a rallying cry for members of

Progressives are closing ranks behind Medicare expansion because it represents the best chance of getting a sliver of their “Medicare for All” vision into law. But in the process, they’ve drawn criticism from fellow Democrats that the benefits would flow to the wealthy at the expense of poor people and communities of color on Medicaid, along with threats from health industry groups that it could raise seniors’ premiums. The program’s cost of more than $350 billion over a decade, according to some estimates, has also made it a big target for cuts as leadership tries to muster the votes to pass the package in the face of what's expected to be unanimous Republican opposition.

In a new letter to committee leaders obtained by POLITICO, Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine), a key centrist, called the Medicare benefits proposal "underdeveloped," and reliant on "budget gimmicks" like delayed implementation.

Seniors vs. the poor? Democrats stare down stark tradeoffs in trying to fund health care expansion

  Seniors vs. the poor? Democrats stare down stark tradeoffs in trying to fund health care expansion Each of the expensive health care proposals in Democrats' spending package would help different people. So how do they choose?If they don’t extend recently expanded health insurance subsidies, premiums will rise for millions of Americans right before the 2022 midterm elections.

Of the 6 billion that the Affordable Care Act cuts from the program over the next ten years, the largest chunk—5 billion—comes from slashing Medicare ’s reimbursement rates to doctors, hospitals, and nursing homes. This significant reduction in fees is driving many doctors to stop accepting new Medicare patients, making it harder for seniors to gain access to needed care. Here are a few of their stories.

WASHINGTON – Healthcare industry watchers are bracing for cuts to government sponsored healthcare programs once the so-called “Super Committee” begins working on ways to slash another .5 trillion from the budget over the next ten years. Even President Barack Obama has indicated that all items, including Medicare and Medicaid, should be on the table. “If one considers that two basic goals of health reform were to reduce costs and increase access, these levels of cuts could cause some smaller hospitals to fail and that would reduce access to healthcare ,” said Perez.

The progressives argue Congress still can control costs by authorizing the new Medicare benefits for only a few years, in the belief that they would prove so popular that future Congresses would have to renew them. Meanwhile, centrists like Golden and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) are insisting that any benefits be means-tested so they're limited to the poorest Americans — a non-starter for many on the left who say it would undermine a basic tenet of social insurance. And depending how low Manchin and others force down the top-line cost of the bill, the Medicare expansion could be dropped entirely.

“We’re having to move from snips to chops,” said one senior Democratic aide.

Pelosi's Democratic leadership wants the party to invest more money in fewer programs in the social spending package — particularly in extending Affordable Care Act subsidies and extending Medicaid coverage to more low-income people in a dozen conservative-led states that haven't already expanded their programs.

“The consensus in the caucus is that whatever we have in the package, we have to do it very well, instead of spreading things so thin that you don’t end up with the impact that you want across the country,” said Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Cal.), who chairs the health subcommittee of House Energy and Commerce.

Police shooting looms over Emanuel in confirmation battle

  Police shooting looms over Emanuel in confirmation battle WASHINGTON (AP) — The fatal police shooting of a Black teen in Chicago seven years ago is looming large over the city’s former mayor, Rahm Emanuel, as he looks to win confirmation as President Joe Biden’s ambassador to Japan. Several liberal House lawmakers and activists complain that Emanuel's handling of the death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was shot 16 times as he ran away from police, should have disqualified him for consideration for a coveted role. They see the nomination as out of sync with the values of an administration that says “comprehensive and meaningful police reform" is a priority. © Provided by Associated Press U.S.

Democratic lawmakers and aides said the envisioned Medicare expansion is the likeliest to drop out in its entirety because of its high cost and the difficulty of rolling it out quickly — a key factor since Democrats are planning to campaign on the new programs next year as they fight to maintain their slim congressional majorities.

Even the House’s $3.5 trillion plan proposed delaying the start of dental coverage until 2028, and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), who formerly led the Progressive Caucus with Jayapal, acknowledged the difficulty of making it available much sooner.

“Some of these are going to be tougher to move up considerably,” he said.

The slow rollout is also a sore point for those members who are depending on the bill’s programs to help them hold onto their seats in swing districts.

“I don’t want this to be some amorphous thing where we say to someone who is 68 years old: ‘You might never see the benefit of this but guess what, we passed it for the next generation,’” said Rep. Susan Wild (D-Pa.). “That doesn’t do it politically and it doesn’t do it for the people we’re here fighting for.”

Some outside advocates and lobbyists say that, if forced to choose, Democrats are more likely to prioritize Medicaid in must-win swing states — like Florida, Georgia and North Carolina — and Affordable Care Act subsidies for millions nationwide as they keep their eyes on their electoral prospects.

AOC rips a possible $1 trillion infrastructure bill: 'That's the annual budget for NYC alone, but spread thin for everyone in the US.'

  AOC rips a possible $1 trillion infrastructure bill: 'That's the annual budget for NYC alone, but spread thin for everyone in the US.' Bernie Sanders is gearing up to take on "the entire ruling class of this country," who are spending big to slash the infrastructure price tag.On Twitter, she wrote that a $1 trillion bill would come to just about $100 billion every year.

Also threatening the expansion plan is the Democrats' ongoing inability to agree on a plan to lower drug costs, which they're counting on to at least partially fund the pricey benefits expansion.

To make the math work, some lawmakers have suggested punting the Medicare benefits proposal until next year. They could also only include the dental benefit, which many argue is the most pressing health need of the three, or vision and hearing, which are far cheaper.

“We might see them split up,” House Budget Chair John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) told reporters. “Although I don’t think [Medicare expansion advocate] Bernie [Sanders] wants to do that.”

The progressives, emboldened by their ability to tie the fate of the infrastructure bill H.R. 3684 (117) to the social spending package, say they’re ready to withhold support again if the Medicare benefits are slashed in the forthcoming negotiations.

Sanders, the Senate Budget chair, this week called the inclusion of dental, vision and hearing “not negotiable.” And Pocan told POLITICO that it was evident in the Zoom call with the White House that they’re being taken seriously.

“They realize that if there was anyone willing to put some real capital out there and hold back our votes, it’s us,” he said.

Democrats face tough choices over major economic package in pivotal week ahead .
With a debt limit crisis averted for now, the Democratic Party's effort to finalize a sweeping economic package to expand the social safety net will be front-and-center on Capitol Hill this week. © Samuel Corum/Getty Images WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 23: (L-R) U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) emerge from the Speakers office after a bipartisan group of Senators and White House officials came to an agreement over the Biden administrations proposed infrastructure plan at the U.S. Capitol on June 23, 2021 in Washington, DC.

usr: 0
This is interesting!