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

Fraud and abuse are common and persistent problems for Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).  Combined federal and state spending now exceeds $1 trillion, with fraud and abuse likely costing taxpayers well over $100 billion annually. Together with state Medicaid agencies and state attorneys general, several federal offices, such...
Medicare Advantage plans provide many benefits to Medicare beneficiaries, including lower costs, added services, higher quality than traditional fee-for-service (FFS), and less paperwork.  However, the way Medicare paid Medicare Advantage health plans led to a situation where Medicare was paying health plans more than the average cost of Medicare FFS...
States might find it useful to have a database replete with health care service claims data to identify Medicaid fraud, evaluate disease trends, establish cost and utilization rates, and share price information with consumers. Typically such comprehensive data is difficult to gather because it comes from various public and...
Care management for Medicare beneficiaries at high risk of hospitalization can significantly reduce hospital admissions without increasing costs, according to two studies in Health Affairs and sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The studies found decreases in Medicare inpatient admissions of 17 percent and 8 to 33 percent, respectively. Care management...
Several Medicare reform proposals have concentrated on realigning financial incentives within Medicare’s provider payment and delivery system to improve program cost-effectiveness and quality, a key health policy challenge. There have been calls to modernize Medicare’s fee-for-service (FFS) benefit design and address other beneficiary incentive issues as a means of...
The Congressional Budget Office’s issue brief, Lessons from Medicare’s Demonstration Projects on Disease Management, Care Coordination, and Value-Based Payment, provides details on the outcome of 10 major Medicare demonstrations following independent researcher evaluation. Demonstrations were conducted during a 20-year span within two categories. Demonstrations were aimed at improving health care...
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), charged with protecting Medicare’s fiscal integrity, works to recover payments made by Medicare that are the responsibility of non-group health plans. While CMS has not always been aware of all such situations in the past, 2007 legislation introduced mandatory non-group health...
Policymakers expressed concern about the lack in price transparency for implantable medical devices (IMD), with confidentiality clauses in purchasing agreements frequently restricting the release of third-party prices. Because this lack of transparency could drive up hospital cost and Medicare spending, GAO examined trends in IMD Medicare spending and utilization,...
As a natural outcome of program incentives, physicians and other health care providers are motivated to deliver more services as a means to increase Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) payments. Chronic overtreatment, and the resulting overpayment, has led Medicare into its current financial crisis. Medicare’s private insurance plans, Medicare Advantage (MA) plans,...
A third of U.S. health care expenditures are spent on care for the elderly.  In terms of overall medical and drug spending, the top five conditions among the elderly are: Heart conditions Cancer Osteoarthritis and non-traumatic joint disorders Hypertension Trauma-related disorders Every year, of the 40 million seniors in the U.S. who live at home...

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