It's the silly season once again when oldsters are asked if they want to change their Medicare coverage. And especially to Medicare Advantage – the plans that are often free and come with lots of extras: like vision, dental, hearing, and even over-the-counter medications. But are they really an advantage?
The RAND Corporation recently released a study of hospital pricing for commercial insurance vs. Medicare, the de facto standard. It's no surprise that commercial insurance pays more than double Medicare. And those payments are not evenly distributed nationally, within states, or even health systems.
Representatives Terri Sewell (AL) and David McKinley (WV) are trying to push through a new law, one that would ensure that Medicare patients have equal access to "non-opioid" therapies after surgery. If they succeed, then Medicare recipients will have earned the right to suffer along with the rest of us. Brilliant.
It's open enrollment when those with Medicare can adjust the supplemental programs, those involving the cost of their medications as well as out-of-pocket spending. Here's a quick guide. (And we're betting you can find a way to reduce your spending before Congress gets to it.)
The science of discovering and developing new antibiotics is difficult enough. But antibiotics present an additional, unique problem: economics. It is very difficult for a pharmaceutical company to even recoup its R&D costs because of a small market, which is mostly hospital use. Some kind of subsidy is necessary. ACSH advisor Dr. David Shlaes examines whether Medicare can help, and to what degree.
Flawed, idealized metrics like life expectancy are often used to report success of a nation or its health delivery apparatus. A new study suggests the lion's share of curbing premature death may not reside there.
This type of rough math reveals some problems, or at least several concerns that we as a nation should be aware of. So before relying on sound bites and quick news hits, we all need to have a better understanding of the concept of Medicare for All, and its varying proposals.
The interaction of supply and demand is an initial economic lesson. The FDA approves new drug's safety and efficacy. But it's the payers – Medicare and the insurance companies – that determine the true supply. Before we begin to discuss cost, let's first learn about supply.
Medicare's Diabetes Prevention Program pays hospitals to teach patients, who are at risk for diabetes, more healthful eating habits. For at least one of the hospitals, it's not an easy goal to accomplish – and it costs more than it pays or perhaps saves.
Inclusivity for those with chronic disease or differing abilities is gaining momentum as a fashion trend. These targeted solutions to quality-of-life issues are a refreshing way to achieve the larger goal of a healthier society.
Accountable Care Organizations want to share in the profits, but not the risk of providing health care. In the end, will being forced to take on risk result in this "innovative payment" program?
How far will behavioral economics go to improve our health and decrease costs?