Din Erupts Over Obama’s Proposed Medicare Payment Plan
Patient advocates, doctors and drug companies have all come out strongly against the new payment model that they say focuses more on the costs than quality of care for those who need the medication. In other Medicare news, ever since the program announced it would pay for end-of-life talks the once-controversial conversations have become more common, and an old way of practicing medicine may be a new way to cut costs.
The New York Times:
Proposal To Reduce Medicare Drug Payments Is Widely Criticized
An Obama administration proposal to reduce Medicare payments for many prescription drugs has run into sharp bipartisan criticism, suggesting that it is easier to diagnose the problem of high prices than to solve it. Patients’ advocates have joined doctors and drug companies in warning that the federal plan could jeopardize access to important medications. Every member of the Senate Finance Committee — 14 Republicans and 12 Democrats — and more than 300 House members have expressed concern. (Pear, 5/23)
The Associated Press:
Elderly Book End-Of-Life Talks Once Labeled 'Death Panels'
The doctor got right down to business after Herbert Diamond bounded in. A single green form before her, she had some questions for the agile 88-year-old: about comas and ventilators, about feeding tubes and CPR, about intense and irreversible suffering. "You want treatments as long as you are going to have good quality of life?" Dr. Manisha Parulekar asked. The retired accountant nodded. "And at that point," she continued, "you would like to focus more on comfort, right?" There was no hesitation before his soft-spoken reply: "Right." Scenes like this have been spreading across the U.S. in the months since Medicare started paying for conversations on end-of-life planning. Seven years after that very idea spurred fears of "death panels," supporters hope lingering doubts will fade. (5/22)
Kaiser Health News:
Doctors' House Calls Saving Money For Medicare
Looking for ways to save money and improve care, Medicare officials are returning to an old-fashioned idea: house calls. But the experiment, called Independence at Home, is more than a nostalgic throwback to the way medicine was practiced decades ago when the doctor arrived at the patient's door carrying a big black bag. Done right and paid right, house calls could prove to be a better way of treating very sick, elderly patients while they can still live at home. (Jaffe, 5/23)