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

Under the Medicare Modernization Act, employers will receive about $124 billion in tax-free subsidies to encourage them to continue prescription drug coverage for retirees. Because of a long history of taxpayer-funded health benefits "crowding out" employer-sponsored coverage, Congress wanted to reduce the incentive for employers to drop retirees into...
In retrospect, will the pharmaceutical industry's support of the Medicare drug benefit be revealed as a modern-day Faustian bargain? Conventional wisdom, particularly inside the Beltway, says that the Bush Administration is in the pocket of pharmaceutical manufacturers. Indeed, this knee-jerk assumption is a virtual article of faith among health policy...
As promised, here's my list of likely losers under the new Medicare prescription drug benefit: ● Dual Eligibles: These 6.5 million highly vulnerable beneficiaries will lose their Medicaid drug benefit and be enrolled in the less generous, slightly more expensive, far more complex Medicare drug benefit. They also face the...
Rube Goldberg believed there were two ways to do things - the simple way and the hard way. And that, for some inexplicable reason, many people preferred doing things the hard way. His famous cartoons illustrated the tendency of human beings to exert maximum effort to achieve minimal results. Notwithstanding...
Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plans (MA-SNPs) are an important new innovation in the healthcare marketplace. Ultimately, as I reported last fall in the Piper Report, MA-SNPs may evolve to serve an untapped $250 billion market. Here's a quick briefing on Special Needs Plans and how they become integrated Medicaid...
The HHS Office of the Inspector (OIG) is studying a long list of issues related to Medicare Part B physician-administered drugs, the new Medicare Part D outpatient prescription drug benefit, and state Medicaid pharmacy benefits. In addition to its investigative and audit function, the talented staff at the HHS...
Coming on the heels of Medicare Part D and the new Part B drug-pricing schema based on Average Sales Price (ASP), the new Competitive Acquisition Program (CAP) for Medicare Part B drugs and biologics represents yet another major change to the pharmaceutical supply chain. While it is too early...
Being a Medicare prescription drug plan can be a profitable business. For the smart players, it will be highly profitable over time and indispensable to market position. But Medicare Part D can also be financially risky and volatile - particularly given: Complexities of the Medicare population Inherent uncertainties of a radically...
Medicare drug plans will dramatically increase coverage of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs in 2007 based on new guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). In creating Medicare Part D, the Medicare Modernization Act (MMA) excluded OTCs from coverage. Taxpayer dollars could not be used to pay for OTC...
The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released new Medicaid spending projections, showing a significantly lower rate of growth. Nationally, while federal Medicare costs continue to rise dramatically and far faster than medical inflation, Medicaid spending growth has moderated considerably. Twice each year, OMB releases its latest projections...

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