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Medicare Advantage Upcoding, Overpayments Require Attention

October 30, 2018

Private Medicare Advantage (MA) insurers have long received overpayments from Medicare due to their “upcoding,” which makes MA enrollees appear less healthy than they are — and a recent court decision could worsen the problem. As policymakers look to strengthen Medicare, eliminating upcoding should be high on their...

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Expanding Medicare Eligibility Entails Many Design Issues

October 4, 2018

Proposals to expand Medicare have moved to the forefront of debate, with several expansion plans advanced in policy journals or introduced in Congress. Although they vary in scope, all raise numerous technical and program design issues. In a new issue brief for the National Academy of...

Elderly Woman And Doctor

Fixing Medicare Benefit Cliff Shouldn’t Give Cover for Drug Company Giveaway

September 24, 2018

Beneficiaries in Medicare’s prescription drug program (Medicare Part D) with high drug spending will have to pay much more out of pocket starting in 2020 under a scheduled sharp increase in the spending threshold at which catastrophic coverage kicks in. Policymakers may soon eliminate that looming benefit “cliff.” But they shouldn’t also reduce the discount that drug companies must pay when...

Cash Inside Pill Containers

House Shouldn’t Repeal or Further Delay “Cadillac Tax”

July 11, 2018

The House Ways and Means Committee will mark up a bill today to delay the excise tax on high-cost health plans (the so-called “Cadillac tax”) by another year, to 2023.  That would be unwise for two reasons: it would lose needed revenue, and it would set back efforts to slow the growth of health care costs.

The...

Form 1040 and Refund Check

Previewing the 2018 Social Security and Medicare Trustees’ Reports

June 4, 2018

The Social Security and Medicare trustees will release their annual reports on the programs’ finances tomorrow and, though we don’t know how the projections may change from last year’s, we expect them to tell a similar story: ...

Social Security Cards

New CBO Budget Projections Are Cause for Concern — Not Alarm

April 9, 2018

New Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projections show that the budget outlook has deteriorated significantly, but that doesn’t justify unwise spending cuts or an economically damaging balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

CBO now projects that the deficit will top $1 trillion...

Budget Plans - Chartbook

Why a Balanced Budget Amendment Would Harm Social Security and Federal Deposit Insurance

April 9, 2018

The problems with a constitutional balanced budget amendment, which the House will vote on this week, go far beyond the significant economic harm it could cause. For instance, its requirement that policymakers offset federal spending in any year with revenues collected in...

Trump Budget FY 2019

Rescissions Would Renege on Budget Deal

April 4, 2018

Some congressional Republicans want to force votes to cut (or “rescind”) billions of dollars in non-defense spending from the 2018 government funding bill Congress passed on a bipartisan basis last month, according to press reports.  Doing so would renege on the recent bipartisan budget...

Non-Defense Discretionary Funding Increases Under Bipartisan Deal Yet Remains Below 2010 Level

Building a Better Budget Process

February 26, 2018

Congress’ continued failure to meet budget deadlines has prompted widespread calls to improve the budget process, and the recent Bipartisan Budget Act established a joint select committee to examine the budget and appropriations process and recommend reforms. Meanwhile, under the auspices of the...

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Congress Shouldn’t Suspend Health-Related Taxes

January 17, 2018

The four-week federal funding bill that the House will consider tomorrow would temporarily suspend or delay three health-related taxes: the 2.3 percent excise tax on medical devices, the fee on health insurance providers (also known as the health insurance tax), and the excise tax on high-cost health...

Medical Device

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