10 Recent Medicare, Medicaid Issues

Here are 10 issues dealing with Medicare or Medicaid that occurred in the past week, starting with the most recent.

1. The average per capita costs of hospital services covered by Medicare and commercial insurance increased 3.57 percent in the 12-month period ended November 2012 — a historic low since the S&P Healthcare Economic Indices started tracking the data.

2. A bill that would extend a 1.45 percent fee on Georgia's hospitals to help fund a deficit in the Medicaid program passed the state's Senate and is expected to go before the state House Jan. 28.

3. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) announced during her State of the State address that 19 Medicaid-designated rural hospitals in the state will receive 100 percent funding for any uncompensated care, starting this October.

4. Several groups, not just those in healthcare, lost something financially in the fiscal cliff deal, but do hospitals have a legitimate gripe? Was this year's Medicare SGR patch an illusory solution?

5. Legislation to reauthorize the Children's Hospitals Graduate Medical Education program was reintroduced in the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Health Subcommittee.

6. The Business Roundtable, a group of CEOs representing the largest U.S. companies, recommended the retirement age at which beneficiaries become eligible for Medicare and Social Security should be raised from 65 to 70.

7. Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) announced the state will repay roughly $186 million in Medicaid payments owed to 39 hospitals through a revenue bond and the state reclaiming control over liquor sales.

8. Seniors tended to choose Medicare Advantage plans with higher quality ratings on CMS' five-star scale, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

9. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer recommended state lawmakers expand the Medicaid program in her state of the state address Monday, becoming only the third Republican governor to do so.

10. Twenty-one states demanded the government change a rural hospital Medicare loophole embedded with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that has given Massachusetts hundreds of millions of dollars in extra Medicare funding at the expense of other states.

More Articles on Medicare and Medicaid:

Strong Culture Can Lead to Lasting Change: Q&A With Randy Oostra, CEO of ProMedica
Did the Fiscal Cliff-SGR Bill Rob Hospitals?
BJC HealthCare's Steven Lipstein: "Healthcare Geographies" Contribute to Higher Costs

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