GAO takes on Medicare Advantage spending

By Fred Schulte

GAO will investigate program spending.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Washington":

"… d David A. Lipschutz, an attorney with the Center for Medicare Advocacy in Washington. America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry’s trade group, wouldn …"

"… ntage groups. These private firms, known as Recovery Audit Contractors in Washington bureaucratese, have been pursuing fraud by doctors and hospitals for years …"

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 "Medicaid Services":

"… nter for Public Integrity. Kronick said that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the arm of HHS that oversees Medicare Advantage, had proposed as far back …"

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 "Congress":

"… rmer California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, Democrats in Congress decided as they worked on health care reform that providing coverage to th …"

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 …"

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 "Virginia":

"… created a new super PAC. Gabriel S. Joseph III registered an Alexandria, Virginia-based super PAC known as The Survey Group PAC, on Wednesday with the Feder …"

"… onding to questions about from the Washington Times about text messages in Virginia political races, Joseph said, "Everything that ccAdvertising does is legal …"

"… Joseph said, "Everything that ccAdvertising does is legal, per the law of Virginia and the laws of the land." Joseph's ccAdvertising firm — which is based …"

"… the land." Joseph's ccAdvertising firm — which is based in Centreville, Virginia, and formally registered with the Virginia State Corporation Commission by …"

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 "Barack Obama":

"… the money is being spent. Though the Illinois state senate is long behind Barack Obama, the president has been a hot topic in state-level elections this year.&nb …"

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 "Jerry Brown":

"… ety violations. Employee advocates herald the bill, which is awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature, as a blueprint for worker protection laws around the countr …"

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

Excerpts from this story referencing "New England":

"… ttempt it will be a lethal attempt,” Frank said. Vermont, another rural New England state, also is facing the problem of youth suicides, with 73 percent of it …"

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 "Massachusetts":

"… or 2012, the most recent year available, but Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island denied requests for statistics or could not …"

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 "Department of Veterans Affairs":

"… tiate drug prices in the same way as another big government agency — the Department of Veterans Affairs — has long been able to do. Medicare could also reduce spending by bill …"

‘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 "Washington":

"… the lawsuit was a former employee.   …"

"… less of how they are treated. The Humanewatch.org ad currently running in Washington’s metro trains says that HSUS gives 1 percent of its budget to pet shelt …"

"… early $16 million in a settlement reached in a U.S. District Court in Washington. Heymann said its share of the settlement, which was not disclosed, will b …"

How Medicare Advantage plans code for cash

By Fred Schulte

Federal study criticizes Medicare Advantage and calls for changes.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Congress":

"… Further policy changes will likely be necessary,” the study concludes. Congress created Medicare Advantage in 2003 to encourage private insurance companie …"

"… stry and the fear of angering seniors also has largely quieted concerns in Congress that Medicare Advantage plans can be a poor value for taxpayers. Congress …"

"… Congress that Medicare Advantage plans can be a poor value for taxpayers. Congress recognized problems with Medicare Advantage coding as far back as 2005, wh …"

Flurry of new legislation targets sexual assault on campus

By Kristen Lombardi

New legislation follows landmark Center series

Excerpts from this story referencing "Barack Obama":

"… latest action on a variety of fronts to curb what everyone from President Barack Obama to Vice President Joe Biden to Education Secretary Arne Duncan has called …"

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.

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 "Department of Health":

"… r local health departments. InsideClimate News contacted the Pennsylvania Department of Health multiple times over a two-week period to ask how it manages the public hea …"

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 "CEO":

"… about a dozen states. During a call with investors last week, UnitedHealth CEO Stephen Hemsley said the company will compete for 2015 Obamacare business …"

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.

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.

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.

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 "America’s Health Insurance Plans":

"… We are evaluating the proposal,” said Clare Krusing, a spokeswoman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry’s trade group. Congress created Medicare Advantage and int …"

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.

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 …"

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.

Medicare Advantage lobbying machine steamrolls Congress

By Fred Schulte

Under pressure, Medicare Advantage critics morph into defenders.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Center for Responsive Politics":

"… s industry over the past three election cycles, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. Franken alone has received at least $90,000 from the health services indu …"

Get involved: Help Medicare Advantage investigation go further with donations and news tips

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

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 …"

Medicare Advantage made simple: a glossary

By Fred Schulte

Definitions for lesser-known terms relating to Medicare.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Medicare":

"… ronic diseases such as diabetes and take other steps to manage their care. …"

"… any doctor they want and buy insurance policies to cover any gaps in what Medicare will pay for. Doctors bill Medicare for each service they provide. Medica …"

"… nce policies to cover any gaps in what Medicare will pay for. Doctors bill Medicare for each service they provide. Medicare Advantage: Nearly 16 million seni …"

"… dicare will pay for. Doctors bill Medicare for each service they provide. Medicare Advantage: Nearly 16 million seniors have joined about 700 insurance plans …"

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 Services":

"… 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 for copi …"

A different way of thinking about health care

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: Canadians take pride in their health care system.

Excerpts from this story referencing "America":

"… rder has never faced such a dilemma. May was astonished to learn that many Americans, her cousin included, regularly postpone needed care because their insur …"

"… access health care system. May was not the only MP to share stories about Americans they’ve met who have fallen through the cracks of a system that fails …"

"… nd I in the health insurance industry worked over several decades to scare Americans about the Canadian system by perpetuating myths about long waits for med …"

"… enact reforms that would lead the country down a “slippery slope toward American-style health care.” The people I talked with were especially alarmed t …"

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