States continue war over Obamacare

By Fred Schulte

State lawmakers at odds over hundreds of bills to either cripple or prop up Affordable Care Act.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Center for Public Integrity":

"… eflect a myriad of starkly different views on Obamacare as settled law. A Center for Public Integrity review found that more than 700 Obamacare-related bills were filed in the …"

"… r early foes of Obamacare, such as the John Birch Society, a review by the Center for Public Integrity found. Dozens of anti-Obamacare bills appear to take their cues from a ha …"

"… ime of dishonesty or breach of trust” failed to gain traction there. The Center for Public Integrity reported in 2013 that critics in some states have seen these bil …"

Selling out for big business: business as usual on Capitol Hill

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: upcoming Obamacare bills benefit corporations, not regular folks.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… in: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans and Obamacare: What’s in It for M …"

Center’s Medicare Advantage Money Grab series wins Meyer Journalism Award

By William Gray

Center’s ground-breaking Medicare Advantage investigation named first-place winner of the 2014 Philip Meyer Journalism Award.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Missouri School of Journalism":

"… Reporting (a joint program of Investigative Reporters and Editors and the Missouri School of Journalism) and the Knight Chair in Journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journ …"

Health care findings you may have missed in 2014

By The Center for Public Integrity

$70 billion in "improper" Medicare Advantage payments and the problem shared by 80 percent of nursing homes.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Medicare":

"… ons. Keep reading …"

"… ar. If you weren't aware, you might have missed $70 billion in "improper" Medicare Advantage payments and the problem shared by 80 percent of all nursing hom …"

"…   1. $70 billion in 'improper' payments A Center investigation into Medicare Advantage uncovered how $70 billion in "improper" payments have been made …"

"… vantage uncovered how $70 billion in "improper" payments have been made to Medicare Advantage plans from 2008 to 2013. Most of these improper payments can be …"

Good news on health care in 2014, but we're still spending too much

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: fewer uninsured, but debt, mental health coverage and dental care are on the agenda for 2015.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… level it’s been in years. That’s according to the National Center for Health Statistics, which released data last Thursday showing that the percentage …"

"… ions of Americans with their premiums and out-of-pocket spending.   Health care inflation has been tamed—at least for the foreseeable future. The b …"

"… in: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans and Obamacare: What’s in It for M …"

Don't wait 'til last minute to enroll in Obamacare

By Wendell Potter

Not all health insurance plans are created equal. Shoppers should get to work now on finding the right policy.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… in: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans and Obamacare: What’s in It for M …"

Court case pushed by think tank could leave uninsured out in the cold

By Wendell Potter

Supreme Court case backed by think tank hinges on single sentence in Affordable Care Act.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Washington":

"… what the cost, so be it, say the folks at a libertarian influence shop in Washington. When the high court announced earlier this month that it would decide a …"

"… heir health insurance, it was time for high-fives at the Cato Institute in Washington. Cato’s director of health policy studies, Michael Cannon, has argued f …"

Obama administration let opponents define the Affordable Care Act

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: Obama administration let foes define Affordable Care Act.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… ch Massachusetts lawmakers enacted in 2006. During remarks he made at the Health Economists Conference at the University of Pennsylvania last year, Gruber …"

"… in: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans and Obamacare: What’s in It for M …"

Health insurers win midterm election!

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: midterm results create a friendlier Congress.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Aetna":

"… highest points in a year last Wednesday. Some even reached historic highs. Aetna was the only one that fell short of reaching a 52-week high, but only by p …"

More scrutiny coming for Medicare Advantage, Obamacare

By Fred Schulte

New round of audits coming; Obamacare too.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Center for Public Integrity":

"… s to overbill the government are pending in federal courts. The Center for Public Integrity’s “Medicare Advantage Money Grab” series, published in June, reveale …"

"… d at nearly $650 million for 2007 alone — just for those six plans. The Center for Public Integrity’s investigation confirmed that federal officials, after years of hagglin …"

Another whistleblower suit alleges Medicare Advantage fraud

By Fred Schulte

California litigation alleges 'house calls" yielded false claims

Excerpts from this story referencing "Oregon":

"… isits to Medicare Advantage patients in Ohio, New York, California, Texas, Oregon and Virginia.   The four health plans “turned a blind eye to the tr …"

GAO takes on Medicare Advantage spending

By Fred Schulte

GAO will investigate program spending.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Medicaid":

"… spring. GAO auditors will target efforts by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which runs the senior care program, to ensure the privatel …"

Comparison shopping for a health plan

By Wendell Potter

California makes it easy to do your homework.

Excerpts from this story referencing "San Diego":

"… were followed by Blue Shield of California, Sharp Health Plan (in greater San Diego), and Western Health Advantage (in the Sacramento area). All of those plan …"

A call for more scrutiny of private Medicare Advantage plans

By Fred Schulte

Researchers say aggressive billing by private plans may require more scrutiny

Excerpts from this story referencing "Medicine":

"… . Graber, a physician and president of the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine.  “Patients don’t have any idea how they are being coded.” Gra …"

California coverage plan for undocumented echoes earlier call by Schwarzenegger

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: former governor supported plan allowing coverage for undocumented residents.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Mitt Romney":

"… 7 that was similar to the one enacted in Massachusetts under then-Governor Mitt Romney. Schwarzenegger’s plan had one notable difference: it would have require …"

Obamacare helps millions, but falls short in many ways

By Wendell Potter

The Affordable Care Act has reduced the ranks of the uninsured, but cost of care must be addressed.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Medicare":

"… ung people for the exact same policy. The law also benefits seniors on Medicare by closing the donut hole in the prescription drug benefit and by covering …"

"… nd by covering preventive care, including screenings, and it is saving the Medicare program billions of dollars by gradually reducing the extra amounts the go …"

"… unts the government has been paying private insurers to participate in the Medicare Advantage program. All that said, the law falls short in many ways. While …"

New types of health care delivery are improving the 'patient experience'

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: eliminating role of insurers could improve health care delivery.

Excerpts from this story referencing "chronic conditions":

"… s will by necessity need to focus on keeping patients healthy and managing chronic conditions in the most cost-effective ways so as to prevent complications and reduce …"

Health insurers turning into who knows what?

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: health insurers are transforming themselves — but into what?

Excerpts from this story referencing "Florida":

"… tions.” Even the nonprofit Blue Cross plans are reinventing themselves. Florida’s largest insurer, Florida Blue, earlier this month unveiled its new cor …"

"… Blue Cross plans are reinventing themselves. Florida’s largest insurer, Florida Blue, earlier this month unveiled its new corporate parent, GuideWell. Sai …"

"… Medifuture conference in Tampa: “We’re not here to be the best plan in Florida. We’re here to be the best health solutions company in the Uni …"

Defeat of California initiative would protect insurers' profits

By Wendell Potter

Proposition 45 would allow California's insurance chief to block insurance rate hikes; insurers are spending millions to kill it.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Barack Obama":

"… ent last week on an ad in Salon.com featuring a large picture of President Barack Obama and this message: “Protect Obamacare from Legal Attacks. Prop 45’s Dir …"

Docs, drug companies, insurers drive up Medicare costs

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: reform drove down hospital costs, creating Medicare savings, but insurers, doctors and drug companies escaped cuts.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Medicaid":

"… iscounts on prescription medicines for people covered by both Medicare and Medicaid. According to the advocacy groups, elimination of that program “resulted …"

"… As reported in POLITICO Magazine last week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services gave the AMA/Specialty Society Relative Value Scale Update Commit …"

Medicare Advantage patients find themselves in regulatory limbo

By Fred Schulte

States lack oversight but feds are struggling to keep with fast-growing health plans.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Medicare":

"… sota retiree Doug Morphew needed surgery last year, he expected his Humana Medicare Advantage plan to step up and pay the lion’s share of the bill. Morphew …"

"… t Morphew’s formal complaint, and about two dozen others, to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) administrator Marilyn B. Tavenner. Swanson ask …"

"… .” CMS said it is satisfied that Humana has largely fixed any problems. Medicare pays the privately run health plans — an alternative to traditional Medi …"

"… care pays the privately run health plans — an alternative to traditional Medicare — a set monthly rate for each patient. About 16 million Americans have s …"

Dire predictions of endless waits for a doctor have proven unfounded

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: Obamacare has not resulted in long waits for a doctor.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Brookings Institution":

"… those medical teams in growing numbers. According to a recent study by the Brookings Institution, workers with less than a bachelor’s degree now account for nearly half …"

Ten major findings from our investigations so far this year

By Jared Bennett and Sarah Whitmire

Investigations from the first half of 2014

Excerpts from this story referencing "Comcast":

"… ished. Keep reading 9. Only 12% of eligible households have signed up for Comcast's affordable Internet program Back in 2011, Comcast wanted to ease feder …"

"… s have signed up for Comcast's affordable Internet program Back in 2011, Comcast wanted to ease federal approval of its merger with NBC Universal, so it pr …"

"… es. The program, called "Internet Essentials," helped show regulators that Comcast's corporate deal was in the public interest (and it made for good public r …"

"… s in the public interest (and it made for good public relations, too). Now Comcast wants to buy Time Warner, and this new merger begs the question — what h …"

How Medicare Advantage plans code for cash

By Fred Schulte

Federal study criticizes Medicare Advantage and calls for changes.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Medicaid":

"… last month on an online research site run by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, part of HHS. Kronick directs the HHS Agency for Healthcare Resea …"

Obamacare-driven competition lowering rates in some states

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: much-maligned Affordable Care Act attracting for-profit insurers, driving prices down in some states.

Excerpts from this story referencing "health insurer":

"… talking point may not have as much to work with as they had hoped. While health insurers in some states will indeed increase the cost of their policies, early evi …"

"… to get better deals is increased competition. Most of the big for-profit health insurers, ever mindful of their bottom lines and profit margins, decided to offer …"

"… ke money. Leading the pack is UnitedHealth Group, the country’s biggest health insurer. The company offered 2014 policies in only about a dozen states. During a …"

Attack ads may actually be benefiting Obamacare enrollment

By Wendell Potter

Publicity from attacks may actually help hike enrollment.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Mary Landrieu":

"… , is hoping to hold on to his seat while Democrats Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Kay Hagan of North Carolina are facing serious re-electio …"

Feds seek new authority to recoup Medicare Advantage overcharges

By Fred Schulte

Impact: Feds act to recoup overcharges following Center investigation.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Medicare":

"… lic. The case is pending. …"

"… ally, are seeking new power to recover excessive charges. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says its wants to set up “a formal process to reco …"

"… Center for Public Integrity investigation published last month found that Medicare paid the health plans nearly $70 billion in “improper” payments — mo …"

"… verstating the health risks of patients — from 2008 through 2013 alone. Medicare expects to pay more for sicker patients and less for those in good health …"

Medicare Advantage plans require more scrutiny

By Fred Schulte

Government inspector says private Medicare plans difficult to investigate due to lack of access to data.

Excerpts from this story referencing "health insurance plans":

"… y and complete data that would facilitate oversight” of the fast-growing health insurance plans. His comments came in testimony prepared for a Wednesday hearing of the o …"

Praise for UK-style health system vindicates spurned nominee

By Wendell Potter

Former Medicare chief's support for UK's health care system may win votes in race for governor of Massachusetts.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Medicare":

"… dely respected physician and health policy expert, to lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Despite having broad support among other heal …"

Health insurance lobby keeps Medicare Advantage overpayments flowing

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: program bills are excessive, but don't expect reforms.

Excerpts from this story referencing "White House":

"… how its lobbyists almost always get what they want out of Congress and the White House, regardless of who is sitting in the Oval Office. The Center’s Medicare …"

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