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 …"

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 "Medicaid":

"… rs favor allowing undocumented residents to either enroll in the state’s Medicaid program or buy private insurance. State Rep. Ricardo Lara, D-Long Beach, s …"

"… income undocumented California residents access to Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program, and create a dedicated insurance exchange for others who earn mor …"

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 "Insurance":

"… years to come. Wendell Potter is the author of Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR is Killing Health Care and …"

Controversial Republican telemarketer forms super PAC

By Dave Levinthal

Gabriel S. Joseph III's past political efforts include an anti-Obama spam text message campaign that prompted legal complaints.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Federal Communications Commission":

"… e, the Human Rights Campaign, which supports gay rights, complained to the Federal Communications Commission that the unsolicited text messages were costing cell phone users money, si …"

Obama takes star turn in state political ads

By Ben Wieder

President and his policies take center stage in political ads, with more than 300,000 mentions, including in lower level state races.

Excerpts from this story referencing "candidate":

"… ly in a negative light. An ad sponsored by Jeremy Oden, a Republican candidate seeking re-election to Alabama’s Public Service Commission, promises tha …"

"… p the EPA overreach.” Another, sponsored by Texas Attorney General candidate Ken Paxton attacked his Republican primary opponent Dan Branch for lo …"

"… lobbying on behalf of unions that “backed Obama.” Overall, Republican candidates, and groups supporting Republicans, were responsible for sponsoring 90 pe …"

"… l. “It may be kind of beside the point to argue whether a gubernatorial candidate is close to Obama,” he said. ‘’It’s not beside the point to argue …"

Contractor, Hispanic worker deaths up in 2013, BLS says

By Talia Buford

The number of contractors and Hispanic workers who died on the job increased in 2013 even as the overall tally of worker deaths declined.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Massachusetts":

"… uck drivers, security guards or groundskeepers. Several states, including Massachusetts and Illinois, have passed laws in recent years strengthening employer liab …"

Activists say gun debate overlooks gun-related deaths of children

By Kate Murphy and Jordan Rubio

An investigation found that at least 28,000 children and teens 19-years-old and younger were killed with guns in America over 10 years

Firearms more likely to be used in suicides than in homicides

By Carmen Forman and Jacob Byk

At least 50 people died per day from firearm suicide; 26 died from firearm homicides.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Nevada":

"… id. Legislation isn’t necessary to promote gun safety, said Don Turner, Nevada Firearms Coalition president. “As a responsible gun owner, we have the …"

"… d. State prevention measures Prevention specialists in New Hampshire and Nevada are looking at firearm suicides and working with gun stores and ranges to …"

"… rearm suicides and working with gun stores and ranges to decrease deaths. Nevada had a high rate of suicide by firearm, 9.83 per 100,000 residents, or 268 …"

"… than three times as many firearm suicides as firearm homicides happened in Nevada in 2012, data shows. The Nevada Office of Suicide Prevention has coordina …"

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 "United States":

"… not only has created the severe shortage of primary care physicians in the United States, but it has also contributed to soaring health care costs, especially for …"

‘Dr. Evil’ fuels dogfight between AKC, Humane Society

By John Dunbar and Erin Quinn

Public relations pro, food industry behind website, ads blasting Humane Society.

Excerpts from this story referencing "spokeswoman":

"… or Consumer Freedom, nor has it been a client of Richard Berman,” a club spokeswoman said in a prepared statement. However, on Jan. 25 and 26, at the American …"

"… to be present at the gathering or whether she was compensated, Kennel Club spokeswoman Hillary Prim sent an email message saying the organization would not be ma …"

How Medicare Advantage plans code for cash

By Fred Schulte

Federal study criticizes Medicare Advantage and calls for changes.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Florida":

"… some plans than others. Holly J. Cassano, a medical coding consultant in Florida, said that the government’s decision to make the billing data public was …"

Flurry of new legislation targets sexual assault on campus

By Kristen Lombardi

New legislation follows landmark Center series

Federal complaint challenges Texas town's new ban on housing any border kids

By Susan Ferriss

Civil rights groups are challenging ordinances that prohibit cooperation with federal officials if they ask to shelter kids in towns.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Texas":

"… shion. …"

"… n American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, or MALDEF, and Appleseed, a Texas public-interest law group. Appleseed has researched dangers faced by Mexic …"

"… plaint argues that the ordinance — one of a number being contemplated in Texas — is discriminatory and violates the Fair Housing Act and the Civil Righ …"

"… that international health experts say is factually unfounded, as the Texas Observer reported.   The United Nations Children’s Fund reports tha …"

Families sick from fracking turn to scientists

By Lisa Song

A Pennsylvania nonprofit provides free health consultations to people who live near gas drilling sites and complain of health effects.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Texas":

"… eld and looked like a refinery. "It [was] almost reminiscent of a Houston, Texas, kind of scene," she said. 'Drop in the bucket' Amelia Pare, a plastic s …"

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.

Trains, amputations and the roots of why kids are on the run

By Susan Ferriss

Reports have long warned of chaos in Central America many minors say they want to escape.

Excerpts from this story referencing "judge":

"… options. Those options include asking for an immigration hearing before a judge rather than being deported immediately. Deportations of non-Mexican or Can …"

New scrutiny on campus sexual violence highlights Center findings

By Gordon Witkin

New efforts are aimed at both assisting schools and putting pressure on them to assist victims of sexual violence.

Excerpts from this story referencing "law enforcement":

"… d sexual assault in years, and that coordination between campuses and area law enforcement agencies was weak.  …"

Class-action suit: Wrong to put kids into immigration court with no lawyers to help

By Susan Ferriss

Kids whose dad was killed by gangsters are among the plaintiffs in a suit arguing that children should have lawyers in immigration court.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Law":

"… in favor of young children benefitting from counsel in immigration court. Lawyers said the suit—one of the plaintiffs is originally from Mexico—was …"

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 "insurance":

"… Advantage and introduced risk scores in 2003 as a way to encourage private insurance companies to jump into the senior care market. The program now insures som …"

"… this year. The plans, many of them run by some of the nation’s largest insurance companies, are popular because they often provide extra benefits, such as …"

"… ut the scores crept back up in 2011. Critics argue that even as the health insurance industry lobbies Congress to stave off further rate cuts, it remains overp …"

Will migrant kids lose access to child-welfare and legal specialists in rush to deport?

By Susan Ferriss

Child advocates are worried possible legal changes could cut off migrant kids' access to social workers, asylum lawyers.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Texas":

"… xpress fear of being returned.    A 2011 report by Appleseed, a Texas-based public-interest law group, also documented cases of Mexican kids rel …"

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 …"

IRS says liberal group too political for 'social welfare' status

By Michael Beckel

Tax agency rejects pro-Blanche Lincoln group's application for tax-exempt status, calling it too focused on influencing elections.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Internal Revenue Service":

"… while reviewing their applications for tax-exempt status.    …"

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Join us in finding problems with Medicare Advantage billing, “risk scores”, or home visits.

Medicare Advantage lobbying machine steamrolls Congress

By Fred Schulte

Under pressure, Medicare Advantage critics morph into defenders.

Excerpts from this story referencing "health insurance":

"… are deeply invested in keeping Medicare Advantage alive and thriving. The health insurance industry’s main trade group, America’s health insurance Plans, or AHIP …"

"… Low end care A generation ago, putting elderly people into privately-run health insurance plans, the forerunners of Medicare Advantage, was a tough sell. It didn’ …"

Medicare Advantage made simple: a glossary

By Fred Schulte

Definitions for lesser-known terms relating to Medicare.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Medicaid":

"… hly premiums average about $35. Other terms The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: Referred to as CMS, this federal agency oversees Medicare and Me …"

"… id Services: Referred to as CMS, this federal agency oversees Medicare and Medicaid, the government health plan for low income people. CMS is part of the Depa …"

"… les: The term refers to people who are eligible both for Medicare and Medicaid because they have low incomes. These patients are generally considered the …"

Explaining Medicare Advantage, and why it matters to you

By Fred Schulte and Sarah Whitmire

Explaining risk scores, Medicare Advantage and what alleged overbilling could mean for the Affordable Care Act.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Medicaid":

"… y of the $70 billion in "improper" payments? The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs the program, has broad authority to recoup overpaymen …"

Comcast-Time Warner deal may hinge on anemic low-cost Internet plan

By Allan Holmes

Comcast Corp. will use heavily criticized broadband program for the poor to persuade regulators to OK Time Warner buyout.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Barack Obama":

"… d. “Having Internet in your home is an absolute necessity.” President Barack Obama agrees. In his 2011 State of the Union Address, Obama pledged to ensure hi …"

Center sues in an effort to make Medicare Advantage files public

By Fred Schulte

Center sues to make records public.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Medicaid":

"… r reporter Fred Schulte requested records from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), an arm of HHS, in a May 21, 2013, letter. The letter asked …"

A different way of thinking about health care

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: Canadians take pride in their health care system.

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