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 Advantage":

"… to provide incentives for health insurance companies to participate in the Medicare Advantage program and administer the Medicare drug program. The Affordable Care Act …"

"… ch themselves, in both lawful and unlawful ways, since the creation of the Medicare Advantage program in 1997.  Under this program, Medicare pays privately run he …"

"… CPI investigation uncovered as much as $70 billion of improper payments to Medicare Advantage plans from 2008 through last year. Will Congress act to save taxpayers bi …"

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.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Congress":

"… d a multi-pronged campaign, financed by the customer premiums, to persuade Congress to keep the cuts from going into effect next month. The industry’s big …"

"… part of a broader effort to put a stop to those overpayments. Members of Congress inserted a provision in the Affordable Care Act to reduce the overpayments …"

"… George W. Bush, which supported the privatization of the Medicare program, Congress passed legislation to provide incentives to insurers to offer private plan …"

"… profitable than before. AHIP may have a hard time convincing the current Congress to take pity on insurers. Last week the Government Accountability Off …"

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 "United States":

"… euters estimates that drug makers take in about $300 billion a year in the United States alone. When you consider that the profit margins for pharmaceutical compan …"

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 "pharmaceutical industry":

"… regulations.   In both cases, you’d be wrong. It’s actually the pharmaceutical industry that spends the most each year to influence our lawmakers, forking over a …"

"… d news for Medicare beneficiaries, of course, but even better news for the pharmaceutical industry. That’s because the industry’s friends in Congress (and the White Hous …"

"… the many problematic issues that Congress’ hands-off attitude toward the pharmaceutical industry has on the American health care consumer — both on pricing and on drug m …"

OPINION: Guess who would benefit from privatizing Medicare?

By Wendell Potter

Privatizing Medicare would help insurers, not seniors.

Report faults Medicare controls on widely abused drugs

By Joe Eaton

Beneficiaries easily went to multiple doctors for hydrocodone and oxycodone

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 "Chicago":

"… f of all beef, pork, chicken and turkey purchased from 26 retail stores in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Los Angeles and Flagstaff, Ariz. …"

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 "Paul Ryan":

"… .I’m betting that many of them, if they're paying attention to what Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., wants to do to the Medicare program, are having some serious buye …"

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

Excerpts from this story referencing "Government Accountability Office":

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

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 "Florida":

"… the poster children for Medicare’s fraud problem, particularly in South Florida. But a new government watchdog report suggests that the Medicare Part D pr …"

"… contacted insurance companies because he was receiving refill requests for Florida patients he did not recognize. “One of the insurers sent me a list of 20 …"

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 "Medicaid":

"… are Advantage plans are required to submit to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the agency that administrators for the health insurance pl …"

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

Excerpts from this story referencing "Medicaid":

"… ID numbers to health plans that contract with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to provide Medicare Part D prescription drug benefits. But …"

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

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

Spending on lobbying thrives

By M. Asif Ismail

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

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

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

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 giant":

"… ncy last fall to work for Sandoz, a manufacturer of generic drugs owned by pharmaceutical giant Novartis."You utilize the resources you have," Hussain said, citing the li …"

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 "Britain":

"… he diabetes drug—which could cause severe liver problems—was banned in Britain.To Findlay, "the horrible thing about Vioxx is more than half the people w …"

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 "Minnesota":

"… 60 Plus Association to run a phone campaign on Pfizer's behalf that urged Minnesota constituents to oppose state price control legislation, then patched them …"

Drug industry influence timeline

What the pharmaceutical industry has gotten on its political investment