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 …"

New types of health care delivery are improving the 'patient experience'

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: eliminating role of insurers could improve health care delivery.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Medicare":

"… ederal government works with insurers in the same way to handle claims for Medicare beneficiaries. Gifford also told me he’s in discussions with a number o …"

"… ompanies, to some extent. And he noted that government entities, including Medicare and state governments, are following a similar path. It’s a path that l …"

"… ey Peninsula in California, which earlier this year began offering its own Medicare Advantage plan to serve area seniors through a subsidiary called Aspire. …"

Health insurers turning into who knows what?

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: health insurers are transforming themselves — but into what?

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… concept in providing health care benefits to its employees that eliminates insurance companies as middlemen. What Boeing is doing represents a seismic shift i …"

"… re currently structured. But the large corporations dominating the health insurance landscape bear little resemblance to the companies they were when they fir …"

"… willing to bet that in a few years, they will not be providing our health insurance coverage — at least in the way they do now. Instead, they will have tran …"

"… ansformed into companies that make most if not all of their profits in non-insurance lines of businesses. You only have to look back a few decades to see just …"

Taking insurance companies out of health care

By Wendell Potter

If Boeing experiment flies, health care system could be transformed.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Cigna":

"… h health insurers at all. I wrote a few months back that my former CEO at Cigna once said that what kept him up at night was the possibility that American …"

GOP’s Senate hopes energized by Koch network ad blitz

By Michael Beckel

How many TV ads have groups connected to the billionaire brothers aired in your state?

Excerpts from this story referencing "Congress":

"… reportedly intend to spend $290 million to help Republicans make gains in Congress this November. Thus far, Kantar Media/CMAG spending estimates indicate the …"

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 …"

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 …"

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 "Medicare":

"… lic. The case is pending. …"

"… ally, are seeking new power to recover excessive charges. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says its wants to set up “a formal process to reco …"

"… Center for Public Integrity investigation published last month found that Medicare paid the health plans nearly $70 billion in “improper” payments — mo …"

"… verstating the health risks of patients — from 2008 through 2013 alone. Medicare expects to pay more for sicker patients and less for those in good health …"

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 "Medicaid Services":

"… at more needs to be done to protect tax dollars. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) officials unveiled a new data analysis system to identify overpaymen …"

Credit rating industry dodges reforms, despite role in financial meltdown

By Alison Fitzgerald

Despite playing a central role in the economic collapse, firms that gave inflated ratings to toxic bonds remain untouched by reforms.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Barack Obama":

"… d for by the companies issuing the securities. Four years after President Barack Obama signed Dodd-Frank into law, many of the reforms to the credit rating indus …"

"… fe investment. Ratings are ‘opinions’ Just one day after President Barack Obama signed the Dodd-Frank act into law on July 21, 2010, the credit ratings se …"

Home is where the money is for Medicare Advantage plans

By Fred Schulte

Medicare Advantage home visits may not improve health, but boost risk scores and cost taxpayers billions.

Excerpts from this story referencing "UnitedHealth Group":

"… ify conditions that remain undiagnosed.” Terence Ohara, a spokesman for UnitedHealth Group, which owns the company, declined to address the financial impact of the v …"

"… its help create a “trusting and engaging relationship” with patients. UnitedHealth Group, which counts more than 3 million seniors in its Medicare Advantage plans, …"

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 …"

150 billion reasons Medicare Advantage matters

By Eleanor Bell

Reporter Fred Schulte discusses his investigation into billions of dollars misspent on Medicare Advantage plans.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Medicare":

"… should be some accountability. …"

"… llion this year, but our latest investigation found that manipulation of a Medicare Advantage payment tool called a “risk score” is adding billions to the …"

"… journalist Fred Schulte. For more than a year, he’s been investigating Medicare Advantage, the government-backed alternative to Medicare for seniors run m …"

"… een investigating Medicare Advantage, the government-backed alternative to Medicare for seniors run mostly by private companies. At the heart of the story ar …"

Shameful coverage of Obamacare's real impacts

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: Obamacare coverage that doesn't inform.

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… ts — the so-called Medical Loss Ratio. Prior to the passage of the law, insurance company executives — who consider what they spend on medical care to be …"

"… ordable Care Act passed. “No more pre-existing condition clauses … and insurance companies had to refund some of what we paid if they didn’t spend enough …"

Forcing health insurers to do what's right

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: Policyholders benefit from Obamacare provision.

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… eir health insurance payments. …"

"… een benefiting since Congress enacted reforms in 2010 that changed the way insurance companies operate. Among the practices I brought to the panel’s attenti …"

"… ed to explore the issue further. After examining years of reports filed by insurance companies, the committee found that, as Rockefeller said Wednesday, “man …"

"… found that, as Rockefeller said Wednesday, “many of the policies health insurance companies were selling to families and businesses were just not a good val …"

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 …"

U.S. Chamber targets Dems in state attorney general races

By Ben Wieder

Why are powerful business interests underwriting ads in AG races in the states?

Excerpts from this story referencing "Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission":

"… er for outside groups to operate thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, which knocked aside bans that had existed in 24 states on politi …"

Keeping an eye on insurance companies that refuse to pay claims

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: Arizona case resolved after victim became a 'squeaky wheel'

Excerpts from this story referencing "injuries":

"… got a letter from Aetna telling him that the company didn’t believe his injuries were “sufficient to warrant” a weeklong stay in the burn unit. As Ang …"

The Canadian health care system I disparaged

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: health care system up north is more efficient.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Medicine":

"… RAND Corporation found in a 2004 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine that the VHA outperformed all other sectors of the U.S. health care system …"

Federal judges plead guilty

By Reity O'Brien, Kytja Weir and Chris Young

Judges acknowledge conflicts of interest Center found in 26 cases.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Tom Fitton":

"… wide. “I’m not sympathetic to their forgetting to check,” said Tom Fitton, president of the conservative-leaning Judicial Watch, an organization tha …"

Meet the Banking Caucus, Wall Street's secret weapon in Washington

By Daniel Wagner and Alison Fitzgerald

Industry campaign cash flows to pro-bank activists in Congress, yielding big returns.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Commodity Futures Trading Commission":

"… oups,” said Bart Chilton, who until last month was a commissioner at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which regulates derivatives. When Congress and trade groups work togethe …"

"… letters to the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission and The Securities and Exchange Commission post their letters online. The …"

American-style health care system pushed in Canada

By Wendell Potter

Canada's conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper wants to remake nation's health care system.

Excerpts from this story referencing "America":

"… nfluence the debate on health care reform. Our number one objective: make Americans so afraid of “heading down the slippery slope toward socialism” that …"

"… . Leading the scare campaign behind the scenes was the trade association, America’s Health Insurance Plans. With help from a right-wing Canadian outfit ca …"

"… ser Institute, which has received funding from the Koch brothers and other American donors, AHIP put together a three-ring binder of talking points for insur …"

"… he north about the dangers of “heading down the slippery slope” toward American-style health care. The reality is that Canadians spend far less per capi …"

The health care industry's campaign of fear, uncertainty and doubt

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: health insurers use a host of tactics to erode support for Obamacare.

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… ealthcare Leadership Council, a coalition that encompasses executives from insurance companies, drug and medical device makers, biotech firms and hospitals. I …"

"… w because I participated in many meetings of the HLC during my years as an insurance industry executive. The campaign of fear, uncertainty and doubt — or FU …"

"… aking shape. But let’s first go back to the spring of 2007. Both health insurance premiums and the number of uninsured Americans were continuing to skyrocke …"

"… lear the point that Americans were losing confidence in the private health insurance market. As I described in my book, Deadly Spin, McInturff’s first slide …"

Dizzying array of options in Obamacare can lead to expensive mistakes

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: Health insurers offer a wide range of plans on exchanges, customers should pay attention to the details.

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… nrollment ends on March 31, if you want to get coverage through the health insurance marketplace and avoid having to pay a penalty, you should log on sooner ra …"

"… te to do. Lawmakers who wrote the Affordable Care Act fell for the health insurance industry’s insistence that Americans want “choice and competition.” …"

"… or of the Health Care for All Colorado Foundation, knows more about health insurance than most of us. She spent quite a bit of time last fall on the Colorado e …"

"… do it over again, she would have taken the additional step of calling the insurance companies directly after reviewing the plans they were offering on the exc …"

New Fed study says health reform can reduce financial stress

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: Massachusetts law eases financial stress.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Massachusetts":

"… icans who file for bankruptcy because of medical debt. A new study in Massachusetts is providing evidence that the reform law passed in that state in 200 …"

"… ucted by economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, found that the Massachusetts reform law, often called RomneyCare after then GOP Gov. Mitt Romney, has r …"

"… years earlier. The Federal Reserve of Chicago researchers found that the Massachusetts reform law, which reduced the rate of uninsured residents from 8.4 percent …"

"… helped improve credit scores and reduce overall debt. “We find that the Massachusetts reform improved financial outcomes across many dimensions,” Federal Rese …"

Pay no attention to those insurance lobbyists behind the Medicare curtain!

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: 'grass-roots' campaign actually comes from health insurers.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Medicaid":

"… k ever since trying to figure out how to keep the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services  (CMS) from carrying out that provision of the law. And for …"

Selective outrage over federal health care costs

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: Conservatives slam risk fund for insurers, but have nothing to say about Medicare Advantage.

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance market":

"… r coverage through the exchanges would be folks previously shut out of the insurance market — people who were older and sicker than the population at large. Those p …"

Obamacare and emergency rooms: a bit of perspective needed

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: Oregon study cited by critics requires perspective.

Excerpts from this story referencing "insurance":

"… t even more crowded. And that’s because more Americans will finally have insurance.  Reform advocates have long suggested that getting folks out of the …"

"… costly care from hospitals’ emergency rooms. ‘Those of us with health insurance are also paying a hidden and growing tax for those without it — about $1 …"

"… a bit of twisted logic in that paragraph. It is true that those of us with insurance pay considerably more for it because those who don’t have it often can …"

"… e” to its insured customers. Researchers have estimated that people with insurance pay $1,000 more a year for it than they would if this cost shifting didn …"

Shining a light on ALEC's power to shape policy

By Wendell Potter

Conservative group's power has been under-covered.

Excerpts from this story referencing "American Legislative Exchange Council":

"… e country’s most influential political organizations — the 40-year-old American Legislative Exchange Council — was able to operate largely under the radar. Never heard of it? T …"