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

In a thoughtful article in The New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell debunks common assumptions about prescription drug prices. Gladwell, bestselling author of The Tipping Point, cuts through the faulty thinking of the pharma bashers. His 4,000-word piece makes for interesting reading. Known for getting to the heart of matters, Gladwell...
Pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) already administer Rx benefits for most employers and several Medicaid programs. Medicare's voluntary prescription drug benefit, set to begin in 2006, creates a huge new market opportunity for PBMs. However, the Medicare drug benefit will also create significant new challenges to PBMs and other organizations...
Under Medicare's new prescription drug benefit, employers will have several options for maintaining drug coverage for their retirees. Staff at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) created a detailed briefing for employers, unions, health benefit consultants, and others interested in understanding the options, including the new retiree...
To help organizations planning to submit bids to serve beneficiaries under the new Medicare prescription drug benefit, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has posted a wealth of valuable new information on it's website. Designed to help potential drug plan bidders better understand and estimate the Medicare population's...
State Medicaid programs are the nation's largest buyers of prescription drugs, serving over 50 million Americans, including the most vulnerable and costly patients. However, Medicaid drug benefits are complex and vary from state to state and among the diverse populations served. We now have an wealth of new information on...
Under the Medicare Modernization Act (MMA), the new Medicare prescription drug benefit (aka, Medicare Part D) includes a retiree subsidy to encourage the continuation of employer-sponsored drug plans for retired Americans. Here are some excellent resources to help employers understand the Medicare retiree subsidy: - White Paper on Retiree Drug Coverage...
States will play a key role in the new Medicare prescription drug benefit. This includes financing much of the drug costs for low-income seniors and persons with disabilities. Here is some useful information for state leaders: - Implications of the New Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit for State Medicaid Budgets. From...
The new Medicare prescription drug benefit, enacted in the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 and set to begin in January 2006, is the most significant and complex expansion of benefits since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. For an insightful portrait of the forty years of ideological conflict...
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that re-importing prescription drugs from Canada will save virtually nothing. Many will find this counter intuitive, especially in light of all the misinformation and political rhetoric - and the uneven reporting on the issue. As with so many of the "Taste Great vs. Less...
The new Medicare drug discount cards will save seniors a whopping $6.4 billion, according to a study commissioned by The Business Roundtable. For the full drug benefit that begins in January 2006, BRT estimates seniors will save another $17.7 billion in the first year alone. And these estimates are conservative. The...

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