10 Recent Medicare, Medicaid Issues — Sequestration, Florida Medicaid & More

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

1. A new study from the Dartmouth Atlas Project challenged the effectiveness of Medicare's risk-adjustment efforts, or the formulas commonly used to assess how sick patients are.

2. Within the latest $2.4 trillion deficit-reduction plan floated by president-appointed bipartisan budget watchdogs Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles was $600 billion in spending cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.

3. Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, MD, said he will speak on behalf of his state's plan to lower Medicaid costs in front of his peers of both parties at a National Governors Association meeting in Washington, D.C.

4. About 80 percent of small business owners — even Republicans — said they oppose cuts to entitlements such as Medicare and Social Security for fear such measures would hurt sales.

5. Two dozen Democrats in the Virginia House claimed they would vote down a transportation funding deal unless the budget sets up a framework to expand the state's Medicaid program.

6. Although few details have been available on Medicaid Recovery Auditors, or RACs, since CMS posted a final rule in 2011, new information emerged that shows they may have different standards than Medicare RACs.

7. Florida Gov. Rick Scott became the seventh Republican governor to agree to accept federal funds in exchange for expanded eligibility for the state's Medicaid program.

8. In an address to New Hampshire's Joint Finance Committee, Gov. Maggie Hassan proposed the restoration of higher Medicaid payments to state hospitals to make "more funding available for uncompensated care."

9. Currently, 22 states and the District of Columbia have committed to expanding Medicaid to nearly all non-disabled adults with household incomes at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty line ($14,856 per year for an individual and $30,657 per year for a family of four in 2012), with three more states likely to follow.

10. CMS released a proposed rule that would affect Medicare Parts C and D in 2014, including lower Medicare Advantage rates.

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