Kip Piper's Health Care Blog
Medicare, Medicaid, Health Reform

From 2000 to 2003, a sharp rise in enrollment during the economic downturn triggered Medicaid budgets to increase by a third - an average annual increase of 10.2 percent. A new analysis in Health Affairs found that during this four-year period: ● In per capita terms, average annual Medicaid costs...
Under President Bush's FY 2006 budget, state Medicaid programs face the prospect of significant changes, including funding cuts of $60 billion, some new expansions, and additional flexibility. Now costing taxpayers over $300 billion a year and growing at 8-12 percent in most states, Medicaid is a hot topic inside...
Some legal gurus are questioning the constitutionality of a key provision of the Medicare prescription drug benefit: the so-called "clawback" provision that requires states to send the federal government cash to help cover the cost of drugs for dual eligibles. The mandatory payments are enormous - $6 billion in...
When the Medicare prescription drug benefit begins on January 1, 2006, about seven million beneficiaries face more restricted drug formularies. Currently, these "dual eligible" individuals receive their drug benefit through state Medicaid programs, which offer more liberal formularies than what will be expected of the new Medicare drug plans. In...
New evidence on the high incidence of preventable, often deadly drug errors in nursing homes raises serious implications for the new Medicare prescription drug benefit. Each month, one in ten nursing home residents suffer a medication-related injury, according to a new study in the American Journal of Medicine. The lead...
Medicare observers expect heavy competition for drug plan contracts with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). It now appears CMS will receive several hundred applications, including applications from major insurers offering drug benefit packages in every state. Since adoption of the Medicare Modernization Act (MMA), most observers -...
In 2005, state Medicaid programs will pay for over 18 percent of the nation's quarter trillion dollar pharmaceutical market. Thanks to an excellent new analysis by Jim Verdier and colleagues at Mathematica Policy Research, we have new insights into cost and use patterns in Medicaid. Some highlights: ● Average monthly Medicaid...
The new Medicare prescription drug benefit presents many challenges to the nation's seven million dual Medicare-Medicaid eligibles. On January 1, 2006 they must move from broader, more flexible Medicaid drug coverage to the narrower, extraordinarily complex Medicare drug benefit. Among those in jepordy are about a half million frail...
Medicaid has become a fiscal disaster for states. With spiraling costs, bulging enrollment, and a degree of complex only a quantum physicist could love, Medicaid is in desperate need of large-scale reform. The National Governors Association (NGA) has adopted an interim policy on comprehensive Medicaid reform. The policy, which all...
As part of the HHS appropriations bill for FY 2006, Congress is moving fast to drop federal funding for erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs in Medicaid, Medicare, and other federal health programs. This makes sense but there is a catch, albeit an unintentional one. Federal law will still require state...

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