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 "Medicare":

"… ated 78 million baby boomers in this country, I was delighted to hear that Medicare’s Hospital Trust Fund won’t run out of money until 2030 — 13 ye …"

"… attributed to the health care law, some of the provisions aimed at slowing Medicare spending, such as requiring Medicare to reduce payments to hospitals with …"

"… me of the provisions aimed at slowing Medicare spending, such as requiring Medicare to reduce payments to hospitals with high readmission rates, are likely he …"

"… elping. But the Hospital Trust Fund accounts for only about half of total Medicare spending. Most of the rest goes to cover physician fees, prescription drug …"

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":

"… or says. Gary Cantrell, a deputy Inspector General with the Department of Health and Human Services said reviews are “hampered by a lack of accurate, tim …"

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 "Department of Justice":

"… at it overbilled the government, including a criminal investigation by the Department of Justice in Washington and a criminal case involving the U.S. Attorney’s branch o …"

OPINION: taking advantage of Medicare Advantage

By Wendell Potter

Feds have been overpaying for Medicare Advantage.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Cigna":

"… ecrease on their MA business. I can attest that that could indeed happen. Cigna, one of the companies I used to work for, used to operate private Medicare …"

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

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 "Medicare":

"… affect health insurance premiums, but it also impacts the solvency of our Medicare system, which was expanded in 2006 to include a prescription drug benefit. …"

"… ded in 2006 to include a prescription drug benefit. That was good news for Medicare beneficiaries, of course, but even better news for the pharmaceutical indu …"

"… nd the White House at the time) went along with Big Pharma’s demand that Medicare not be allowed to negotiate pricing with drug makers to make medicines mor …"

"… n with drug makers to get better deals on prices. But, incredibly, not the Medicare program. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the government co …"

OPINION: Guess who would benefit from privatizing Medicare?

By Wendell Potter

Privatizing Medicare would help insurers, not seniors.

Excerpts from this story referencing "health insurers":

"… law and lobbying firm that has represented some of the country’s biggest health insurers, including WellPoint and Cigna, is advocating a gradual phase-in of the Ry …"

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 "Tom Carper":

"… reed that a restricted recipient program was necessarily the solution.Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., one of those who requested the GAO inquiry, said the abuse of dru …"

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

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 "Medicaid":

"… rt of reform that would require all Americans not eligible for Medicare or Medicaid to buy coverage from them, they did not like the provision that would elim …"

Analysis – Pay much attention to the insurers behind the curtain

By Wendell Potter

Wendell Potter looks at the GOP budget plan

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 "spokeswoman":

"… r.”Asked how Medco knows those prescriptions are not fraudulent, a Medco spokeswoman said its pharmacies have many safeguards. “There are a variety of factor …"

"… are a variety of factors that go into prescription authorization,” wrote spokeswoman Melissa Mackey, including calling doctors to verify they wrote the prescri …"

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

Excerpts from this story referencing "Government Accountability Office":

"… dar years 2006-07.Following are other new watchdog reports released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), various federal Offices of Inspector General (OIG), and other gover …"

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

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

Excerpts from this story referencing "Tom Carper":

"… then allowing any combination to open the gate,” he said.Democratic Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware is demanding that the CMS set a time line of specific actions …"

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 "Health":

"… roduced five weeks ago.The squabble is occurring just as the Department of Health and Human Services is reporting — according to the Associated Press — …"

"… ,” said Gerry Roy, the assistant inspector general for investigations at Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General. Roy said organized crim …"

"… pokesman for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, a branch of Health and Human Services, said he is not aware of any counties that were left wi …"

"… the bidding delay back then was President George W. Bush’s Secretary of Health and Human Services at the time, Michael Leavitt. “If Congress fails to u …"

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 "Merck":

"… ong them two top-selling anti-cholesterol drugs, Pfizer's Lipitor and Merck's Zocor, and Sanofi-Aventis's popular sleep inducer Ambien.Last year, some …"

Spending on lobbying thrives

By M. Asif Ismail

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

Excerpts from this story referencing "pharmaceuticals":

"… his report was provided by the Nathan Cummings Foundation. …"

"… PhRMA lobbyist.The Center's latest study showed that the manufacturers of pharmaceuticals, medical devices and other health products have spent at least $855 millio …"

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 "George W. Bush":

"… ant to these drugs. Most of the second-line ARVs are brand-name drugs. …"

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 "spokeswoman":

"… r Pfizer's relationship with the Ceasefire on Health Care campaign. Pfizer spokeswoman Darlene Taylor confirmed the company's involvement with the campaign but r …"

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 "trade":

"… tation advertisements.And as the Center reported in January 2005, the trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America hired Gordon Gi …"

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 "Food and Drug Administration":

"… ontributed to this report. …"

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

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

Drug industry influence timeline

What the pharmaceutical industry has gotten on its political investment

Excerpts from this story referencing "diseases":

"… iple bills, including the Orphan Drug Act relating to medications for rare diseases, the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act, and the Public Health Service …"

"… ew period.1991The FDA accelerates the review of drugs for life-threatening diseases.1987The Prescription Drug Marketing Act passed. (Requires distribution of …"

"… han Drug Act passes. The law encourages development of drugs to treat rare diseases affecting fewer than 200,000 by giving incentives to companies.1980Bayh-Do …"