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June 2017
Schlein
Washington Watch

House-passed Healthcare Bill on Way to Senate: Should Seniors Worry About What It Mandates?

They claim Medicaid is inefficient and wasteful, but studies, including a 2013 Kaiser Family Foundation study, point out that Medicaid is actually more efficient than even a private sector program could be.

May 2017
Schlein
Washington Watch

Proposed Budget Cuts Could Severely Curtail Effective Senior Health Care Research and Initiatives

AHRQ is a little-known agency that focuses on improving health care quality and applying it to patient safety. It is one of the true unsung heroes of the federal government, providing vital scientific research that has helped reduce diseases and keep seniors safe for the past 20 years.

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"These infections were a public health problem on par with breast and prostate cancer,” Pronovost told Modern Healthcare. “Imagine the praises we'd be singing if someone knocked prostate cancer down by that much. We certainly wouldn't be saying, let's defund the agency that helped make that real."

April 2017
Schlein
Washington Watch

New Health and Human Services Secretary May Have Profound Impact on Senior Health Issues

Over a long career in medicine and politics, Price holds deeply held beliefs and now leads a department whose mission he has consistently criticized. He will be the Trump administration’s policy leader on repealing Obamacare, and proposed changes to Medicare and Medicaid as well as other policies that will affect seniors. So who is this man and what will he likely do in his new role?

Schlein
Washington Watch

Why Does Replacing Obamacare Matter to Seniors?

Right now, the federal government says you pay a set share of these costs through Medicare premiums, deductibles and co-pays and beneficiaries get government funding to cover specific benefits. Under the premium support idea, Medicare would instead pay a specific amount of money, without the guaranteed benefits or defined set of benefits.

March 2017
Schlein
Washington Watch

Drug Prices: What Can Trump Really Do?

Each time sharp drug prices moves into the headlines, political candidates complain and pledge to do something about it, Congressional lawmakers conduct hearings and legislation is proposed. But drug prices keep skyrocketing.

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Preventing Medicare from negotiating directly with drug makers is in sharp contrast with what other government agencies can do. Medicaid requires mandatory drug price rebates, and drug manufacturers are not allowed to charge the Veterans Administration more than the lowest price paid by any private sector purchaser. Private HMOs also routinely negotiate discounts from the drug companies. But the Department of Veterans Affairs is also bound by fewer rules than Medicare and one result is that it covers far fewer drugs than Medicare does.

February 2017
Schlein
Washington Watch

Analysis: How Repeal of the Affordable Care Act Could Have a Profound Effect on Seniors

Since winning the presidency, Trump has sent signals that he may no longer see Medicare as untouchable — raising the possibility that at some point in his administration the Republicans may pursue a Medicare overhaul. After the election, Trump laid out a health care platform that called for “modernizing” the program — a phrase Ryan and his supporters also like to use. Nominating Price to run HHS reinforces that position.

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Democrats see a Republican-led push to privatize Medicare as a way to motivate liberals and progressives because politically they can frame themselves as defending seniors and as saviors of Medicare and Medicaid. Democrats worry privatized Medicare would replace a government service that most people think works well, with skimpy vouchers or “coupon care for seniors” as some label it.

January 2017
Schlein
Washington Watch

Senior Health Care Issues Loom Large in New Year, New Administration

The 21st Century Cures Act is one of the most significant pieces of legislation passed by this Congress, with bipartisan support – from both the outgoing Democratic White House and GOP leaders in Congress. It makes sweeping policy changes and funding increases for mental health care programs, money to fight the national opioid epidemic and additional money for Alzheimer’s disease research and cancer research. Supporters of the bill called it a “game-changer” that would touch almost every American in some way or another.

December 2016
Schlein
Washington Watch

What Happens When You Just Can’t Get There from Here Because You’re Old?

So Butterfli and other companies and local communities are working with insurance companies to provide transportation solutions to the elderly and now have an added incentive to provide it so they don’t get hit with readmission penalties.

November 2016
Schlein
Washington Watch

Justice, Oh Justice, Where Art Thou for Nursing Home Residents?

Companies love forced arbitration because it overwhelmingly tilts in their favor and often shields them from liability. But in the process, consumers, investors, and in the case of nursing homes, patients and families, are often denied justice because they have no legal recourse when wronged.

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But the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which govern both Medicare and Medicaid and controls more than $1 trillion in funding for the two agencies, recently issued new rules cutting off funding to nursing facilities that require arbitration clauses as a condition of admission.

October 2016
Schlein
Washington Watch

Parsing the Presidential Positions and Politics on Senior Issues

The actual choice facing voters are two candidates with sharply different views of the world. Where they have articulated a clear policy, like on issues involving immigration, ISIS and the economy, the differences are often stark. But little has been spoken about key issues with special importance to seniors.

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