How entitlements like Social Security and Medicare got so big

May 3, 2024
These programs are the biggest part of the budget, and cuts to them feel personal, one expert says. Reducing them has been tough historically.
Social Security started during the Depression as a way to get money to elderly people, many of whom were living in poverty. Now it's the biggest U.S. government expense.
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New federal rule on minimum staffing for nursing homes takes effect

Apr 24, 2024
Until now, the only staffing rule for nursing homes has been that they have “sufficient” staff, without specifying what that means.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is putting $75 million toward getting more nurses to work in nursing homes.
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Medicare to start negotiating prices for 10 drugs in 2024

Dec 29, 2023
But drug companies are trying to stymie the effort with a raft of lawsuits.
Medicare’s ability to negotiate drug prices will apply to just 10 medications for now, including treatments for heart disease and diabetes.
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Medicare expands mental health coverage

Dec 25, 2023
Loosened restrictions on who can bill the program for mental health services mean more options for Americans, especially in rural areas.
The Jan 1. change to Medicare will make some 400,000 providers, or 40% of the mental health workforce, eligible to bill the program.  
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Open enrollment season is a heyday for scammers

Nov 7, 2023
Some estimates put Medicare fraud, including elder abuse, in the neighborhood of $60 billion a year.
Some estimates put Medicare fraud,  including elder abuse, in the neighborhood of $60 billion a year.
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How will Medicare decide a fair price for drug negotiations?

Dan Gorenstein of Tradeoffs explains what factors the federal insurance program will look at and what the next steps are.
The Inflation Reduction Act signed into law last year gives Medicare new muscle to try to negotiate lower drug prices.
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For seniors who use medical cannabis, the expense can be considerable

Jun 16, 2023
More than three dozen states have legalized the medical use of cannabis products. But for some patients, it’s not an affordable option.
While insurance and Medicare will cover the cost for most FDA-approved medications, those who chose medical cannabis typically pay for it out of pocket.
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Congress is looking at changes to Medicare. Hospitals aren't thrilled

A little-known payment change could save the federal government $150 billion over the next 10 years.
Right now, there are cases where Medicare pays hospitals more than double what it pays independent doctors for the same care.
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What’s the difference between traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage?  

There’s been a push for original Medicare recipients to switch to Medicare Advantage, but the plans have seen controversy.
Medicare Advantage plans have seen a number of scandals, Marketplace's senior economics contributor explains why.
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Medicare rejected a controversial Alzheimer's drug. Participants still ended up paying for it.

Oct 24, 2022
Medicare raised premiums late last year in preparation to cover the drug Aduhelm. Ultimately, Medicare rejected coverage of the drug, with limited exceptions.
Biogen initially priced its Alzheimer’s treatment drug at $56,000 a year. That figure was factored in when Medicare set Part B premiums late last year.
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