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 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 "insurance":

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

"… e” Medicare. But Medicare Advantage plans, which are often run by large insurance companies and accept a set monthly fee from the government for each patien …"

"… y” and “difficulties with access to information” held by the private insurance companies. He wrote that fraud investigators have no central place to acce …"

"… ernment. Congress created Medicare Advantage in 2003 to encourage private insurance companies to jump into the senior care market without hesitation. Since th …"

Why Medicare Advantage costs taxpayers billions more than it should

By Fred Schulte, David Donald and Erin Durkin

Critics warned of billing abuse in Medicare Advantage health plans, but oversight is lagging.

Excerpts from this story referencing "George W. Bush":

"… r later. Thomas Scully, who helped get the program running under President George W. Bush, said rates were generous in hopes of enticing insurers to expand their Me …"

OPINION: taking advantage of Medicare Advantage

By Wendell Potter

Feds have been overpaying for Medicare Advantage.

OPINION: drug firms say no to rebates, despite billions in new revenue from Part D

By Wendell Potter

Part D brought drug companies billions, but they say the sky is falling

Excerpts from this story referencing "pharmaceutical industry":

"… s.  Before the Medicare Part D drug program was created in 2006, the pharmaceutical industry paid rebates to the government to help pay for those folks’ medications. …"

"… s to help save a program that they benefit from:  “R&D (in the pharmaceutical industry) is critical to the country’s long term economic growth and to important …"

OPINION: Big Pharma's stranglehold on Washington

By Wendell Potter

Pharmaceutical firms are getting their money's worth on Capitol Hill.

Excerpts from this story referencing "United States":

"… ican health care consumer, it is instructive to compare drug prices in the United States to those in other countries, where governments set a limit on price increa …"

"… ng drug prices around the world, and according to that study prices in the United States have risen an average of 8 percent a year from 2006 through 2011, while dr …"

"… difference had surged to 100 percent. And with drug price inflation in the United States hitting 11 percent in 2011, that gap will undoubtedly grow ever wider in t …"

OPINION: Guess who would benefit from privatizing Medicare?

By Wendell Potter

Privatizing Medicare would help insurers, not seniors.

Excerpts from this story referencing "WellPoint":

"… has represented some of the country’s biggest health insurers, including WellPoint and Cigna, is advocating a gradual phase-in of the Ryan plan, similar to h …"

Report faults Medicare controls on widely abused drugs

By Joe Eaton

Beneficiaries easily went to multiple doctors for hydrocodone and oxycodone

Excerpts from this story referencing "Medicaid":

"… l practitioners in the same year.The GAO said the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has systems in place to identify inappropriate drug use by …"

"… l abuses.”  Witnesses from the GAO and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are expected to testify on the issue at Senate subcommittee heari …"

Antibiotics in livestock fuel debate over hazardous meat and poultry

By Andrew Mach

Farmers and ranchers still use large amounts of antibiotics in raising livestock, which breeds and passes to humans drug-resistant bacteria

Excerpts from this story referencing "Union of Concerned Scientists":

"… in the Public Interest, Food Animal Concerns Trust, Public Citizen and the Union of Concerned Scientists sued the FDA. They claim the agency’s stance on antibiotic use in farmin …"

Investigations Around the World

By Simona Raetz

Drug on wars makes pain killers unavailable for patients in developing countries; mining companies are big winners of Chilean tax system

IMPACT: Bipartisan bill targets Medicare scammers

By Joe Eaton

IMPACT: Bipartisan bill targets Medicare scammers

Excerpts from this story referencing "Medicare":

"… down on fraud in federal health programs for the poor and the elderly.The Medicare and Medicaid Fighting Fraud and Abuse to Save Taxpayer Dollars Act, introd …"

"… includes a provision that would require all prescriptions paid for by the Medicare Part D prescription drug plan include a valid physician identifier. That i …"

"… ugs frequently trafficked on the street. The story also reported that some Medicare scammers have stolen the identities of dead physicians to bill Medicare fo …"

"… me Medicare scammers have stolen the identities of dead physicians to bill Medicare for drugs under the plan.In addition to requiring valid prescriber numbers …"

Analysis — Are seniors paying attention to Paul Ryan's plan for Medicare?

By Wendell Potter

ANALYSIS: Republicans sold seniors a bill of goods on health care reform and Medicare

Excerpts from this story referencing "Insurance":

"… r Insurance company executive, is the author of  Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR Is Killing Health Care and …"

Analysis – Pay much attention to the insurers behind the curtain

By Wendell Potter

Wendell Potter looks at the GOP budget plan

Excerpts from this story referencing "Paul Ryan":

"… t—and vote— against their own best interests.  …"

GAO: Almost a tenth of Medicare spending was improper

By Laurel Adams

An estimated $48 billion went to improper Medicare payments last year, out of the $509 billion spent on health care for elderly and disabled

Medicare can’t identify top prescribers of addictive drugs

By The Center for Public Integrity and Joe Eaton

Medicare doesn't know if all the prescriptions it is paying for are being written by real doctors, says a new inspector general's report....

Excerpts from this story referencing "Drug Enforcement Administration":

"… t,” he said.Mark Caverly, chief of the liaison and policy section of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Office of Diversion Control, said the root of the problem probably res …"

"… ier directory is available. For a fee, net surfers can also gain access to Drug Enforcement Administration prescriber numbers from a website run by a private company in partnership …"

Medicare patients received expired, terminated drugs

By Joe Eaton

Medicare patients in 2006-07 likely received more than $112 million worth of expired prescription drugs or drugs that have been pulled from

Medicaid to get tougher on drug makers’ price reporting

By Julie Vorman

The federal overseer of Medicaid plans to crack down on drug makers that fail to submit complete monthly and quarterly price information for

Excerpts from this story referencing "Medicaid":

"… every dollar earned by men managers in 2007 (GAO). …"

"… ports of average manufacturer prices (AMP) to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the inspector general said in a new report. They were even worse …"

"… on is required by federal law to help calculate rebates owed to states for Medicaid drugs, and to set ceiling prices for Medicaid prescriptions. Violators fac …"

"… e rebates owed to states for Medicaid drugs, and to set ceiling prices for Medicaid prescriptions. Violators face a $10,000 per day civil fine, and can be sus …"

Senator seeks deadline for Medicare to prevent prescription drug fraud

By Joe Eaton

Taxpayer-funded Medicare recently spent more than $1 billion on drug prescriptions missing a valid doctor identification number and a Senate

Congressman takes swipe at program to reduce Medicare fraud

By Naseem Miller and Joe Eaton

As health reform bills consume Congress, a battle over a program designed to help cut soaring rates of Medicare overpayment and fraud is pla

Excerpts from this story referencing "Medicaid":

"… market rates for medical equipment. The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services estimated that Medicare improperly paid $1 billion for durable me …"

"… unaratna said the bill is necessary because the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have not fixed problems that led to the program’s 2008 delay, i …"

"… s and Means.Peter Ashkenaz, a spokesman for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, a branch of Health and Human Services, said he is not aware of a …"

"… titive bidding back in 2008, Ashkenaz said, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services signed contracts with 325 suppliers, among the 1,005 suppliers wh …"

FDA reaches agreement with firm that produced troubled heart drug

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last week announced a little-noticed tentative agreement setting conditions under which a troubled pha

Excerpts from this story referencing "federal judge":

"… n in November, the Justice Department — representing the FDA — asked a federal judge to permanently enjoin Actavis and Actavis Totowa from manufacturing a vari …"

A record year for the pharmaceutical lobby in '07

By M. Asif Ismail

Washington's largest lobby racks up another banner year on Capitol Hill

Excerpts from this story referencing "Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America":

"… percent of the total was spent by 40 companies and three trade groups: the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the Biotechnology Industry Organization, and the Advanced Me …"

Spending on lobbying thrives

By M. Asif Ismail

Drug and health products industries invest $182 million to influence legislation

Excerpts from this story referencing "Merck":

"… 2 million — bringing its total to more than $62 million since 1998. Merck spent about $48 million and Eli Lilly, Bristol-Myers and GlaxoSm …"

PEPFAR policy hinders treatment in generic terms

By M. Asif Ismail

Critics say FDA approval rule has meant greater use of high-cost drugs at expense of helping fewer patients

Excerpts from this story referencing "U.S. Food and Drug Administration":

"… key reason for that lies in PEPFAR's own rules: only ARVs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (or given tentative FDA approval through an expedited review process set u …"

Drug makers' dime funds Congressional travel

By Robert Brodsky

Pharmaceutical companies, affiliated trade groups spent more than $600,000 on trips

Excerpts from this story referencing "Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America":

"… of travel.The drug industry's largest and most influential lobbying group, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), paid for 45 trips worth at least a combined $92,000. Nearly half …"

States see importation as solution to high drug costs

By Victoria Kreha

Several seek, have plans despite federal and industry opposition

Excerpts from this story referencing "federal judge":

"… they need to purchase the same drug."In another setback, in August 2005 a federal judge in Minnesota dismissed claims that several prescription drug giants violat …"

FDA staff travels on drug industry dollars

By Alexander Cohen

Groups tied to FDA-regulated industry paying for agency officials' trips

Excerpts from this story referencing "pharmaceutical industry":

"… — I don't know if that's proper."Two other universities with ties to the pharmaceutical industry together sponsored more than 100 trips costing roughly $98,000. The Univer …"

FDA: A shell of its former self

By M. Asif Ismail

The Food and Drug Administration lacks the power to regulate pharmaceuticals and keep you safe

Excerpts from this story referencing "United States":

"… asma cells that is responsible for more than 10,000 deaths annually in the United States. The drug accounted for more than three-quarters of the $377 million in re …"

"… in as many as 140,000 Americans and led to as many as 55,000 deaths in the United States.In the wake of the Vioxx controversy, news organizations documented the in …"

Drug lobby second to none

By M. Asif Ismail

How the pharmaceutical industry gets its way in Washington

Surrogates for their agenda

By Alexander Cohen

How the drug industry uses non-profits to push its interests

Excerpts from this story referencing "pharmaceutical industry":

"… dia campaign—wasn't his organization's only testimonial on behalf of the pharmaceutical industry. AFUD's mission is to "raise funds for research, lay education and patient …"

"… nt and drug-maker advocacy is only one example of how, over the years, the pharmaceutical industry has mounted a sophisticated grassroots campaign to build support for its p …"

"… $2 million to policy and research groups.Public image unlimitedMany of the pharmaceutical industry's biggest names are no strangers to the world of corporate philanthropy. T …"

"… le more than echo chambers, designed to support positions favorable to the pharmaceutical industry that pays their bills.The Institute for Policy Innovation, founded by form …"

Drug industry influence timeline

What the pharmaceutical industry has gotten on its political investment

Excerpts from this story referencing "Department of Health and Human Services":

"… . The number of warning letters sent by the FDA dramatically decreases.The Department of Health and Human Services proposes new privacy regulations that could give FDA-regulated entities, i …"

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