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NEWS
December 9, 2003 | By Ron Hutcheson INQUIRER WASHINGTON BUREAU
President Bush yesterday signed into law the most sweeping changes to Medicare since its creation nearly four decades ago, including a new prescription-drug benefit for older Americans. The landmark law also will inject competition into the government health-care program for the first time, by letting private companies compete with traditional Medicare. Bush said the changes would bring Medicare into the 21st century. Critics predicted they would destroy the health-care safety net that serves 40 million older Americans.
NEWS
August 8, 1996 | BY JOHN SWEENEY
Rich Welsh (Guest Opinion, July 30) appears to have been taken in by the Republican congressional leadership's disinformation to distract citizens from Rep. John Fox's votes for the Newt Gingrich budget that made deep cuts in Medicare. In reality, it is the Republican leaders and their right-wing allies who are "playing dirty on Medicare" in an attempt to undermine the AFL-CIO's efforts to educate the American public. They have even stooped to threatening libel suits against TV and radio stations that run AFL-CIO ads documenting votes for drastic cuts in Medicare by members of Congress, including Jon Fox. Welsh parrots the GOP's line that House Speaker Newt Gingrich wasn't referring to Medicare when he said, "We think it's going to wither on the vine.
NEWS
April 14, 2013 | By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Associated Press
WASHINGTON - President Obama's plan to raise Medicare premiums for upper-income seniors would create five new income brackets to squeeze more revenue for the government from the top tiers of retirees, the administration revealed Friday. First details of the plan emerged after Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testified to Congress on the president's budget. As released two days earlier, the budget included only a vague description of a controversial proposal that has grown more ambitious since Obama last floated it. "Means testing" has been part of Medicare since the George W. Bush administration, but ramping it up is bound to stir controversy.
NEWS
August 4, 2002 | By Robert F. O'Neill INQUIRER SUBURBAN STAFF
More and more seniors are opting to remain in the workforce nowadays, even after their Social Security kicks in, leaving questions about Medicare benefits for another day. When another day arrives, chances are a retiree needs help in deciding where to go for supplemental health coverage, whether to sign up with an HMO or any one of the more than 40 insurance providers registered in Pennsylvania. Where does one find this kind of free help? In Delaware County it's an agency called Horizons Unlimited, which administers a state-funded Medicare health insurance counseling program known as APPRISE.
NEWS
April 5, 1987 | By Gilbert M. Gaul, Inquirer Staff Writer
Edward Howard thought he was prepared for old age. The former government worker had managed to save $130,000 for retirement. He owned his ranch house in a suburb of Washington. And he had monthly income of nearly $2,300 from a pension and Social Security. Because he was 65, Howard automatically qualified for Medicare, the federal health-insurance program for the elderly. But just to be on the safe side, he bought four health-insurance policies. "I thought I had all the bases covered," Howard, a 72-year-old amputee, said in a recent interview.
NEWS
January 8, 1998
Republicans greeted President Clinton's proposal to expand Medicare to include the "near elderly" with all the grace Socks showed Buddy. Fangs bared and back arched. California Republican Bill Thomas, chairman of the House Ways and Means subcommittee on health, said, "If the era of big government is over, why is the president proposing all these government expansions?" Texas Republican Sen. Phil Gramm called the plan "99 percent politics and 1 percent public policy. " And Ohio Republican John R. Kasich, head of the House Budget Committee, said there was no way Congress would approve.
NEWS
January 13, 2006
LAST WEEK, I had to pay cash for my prescription because either Blue Cross' or our government's computers weren't updated to the changes in Medicare. Added to that aggravation is the unabashed greed the pharmaceutical industry expects us to support. My prescription plan has an annual cap. Because of that, I know the retail cost was $173 last year. This time, I had to pay $200. That increase, I suspect, is due solely to the federal government's paying either the whole freight or the difference in private coverage.
NEWS
August 17, 2012 | By Steve Peoples, Associated Press
WARREN, Ohio - Republican vice presidential contender Paul Ryan says he never would have included a $700 billion Medicare cut in his budget if President Obama hadn't done it first. "He put those cuts there," Ryan said Thursday, responding to a reporter's question. "We would never have done it in the first place. " Medicare, the health-care program for tens of millions of seniors, has become a key issue in the race for the White House. The Wisconsin congressman is perhaps best known for authoring a controversial budget plan that would transform Medicare into a voucher-like system.
NEWS
August 14, 2009
MEDICARE is not the panacea many make it out to be. Its costs are exploding and fraud is rampant - just another poorly administered federal program. Moreover, the projections in 1961 were completely wrong such that its present-day cost is hundreds of billions in excess of the estimates. Ronald Reagan was right in 1961 to object to government involvement - and if he were alive today, it's clear that he would be against Obamacare. John Belli, Philadelphia
NEWS
July 30, 1996 | BY RICH WELSH
The AFL-CIO is saturating radio with a commercial about Medicare. It starts out with a woman explaining how Medicare is peace of mind for senior citizens. The announcer then breaks in, saying that Newt Gingrich has his own ideas about Medicare. A clip is then played with Speaker Gingrich saying, "We don't get rid of it through a transition. But we believe it's going to wither on the vine. " The Democrats during the Medicare debates several months ago tried to use this statement on the floor of the House of Representatives.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
February 6, 2016 | By Lisa Gillespie, KAISER HEALTH NEWS
Charles Prozzillo's life changed for the worse when Medicare stopped paying for his ambulance rides to dialysis a year ago. The 72-year-old Fort Washington man, who had been a hairdresser with his own salon and volunteer firefighter in younger days, was being treated for late stages of kidney failure. Three times a week for five years, he had gone to a dialysis facility to have his blood cleansed of waste, a job his kidneys could no longer do. The sessions gave him cramps and tired him, but they kept him alive.
NEWS
February 4, 2016
By Cynthia Reilly In a political climate in which the two major parties don't always see eye to eye, one issue is bringing them together: Republicans and Democrats agree that we must address the tragedy of prescription drug abuse. With 44 people dying every day from overdoses of oxycodone, hydrocodone, and similar opioid pain relievers, there is growing awareness that misuse of these drugs can affect almost anyone. Presidential hopefuls on both sides of the aisle have told personal stories about the terrible toll this epidemic has taken on family, friends, and colleagues, and some have proposed detailed policies to address prevention and treatment of abuse.
NEWS
January 24, 2016 | By Ilene Raymond Rush, For The Inquirer
When it comes to selecting a home health care agency, nurse Susan Sellechia, 34, says what matters most are compassion, education, and a drive to keep patients out of the hospital. Her patient at Deer Meadows Home Health and Support Services, Joan Hutchins, 84, who was treated for ulcers on her legs, agrees. "The nurses here have been very patient with me," said Hutchins. "I couldn't get any better care. " In July, Medicare instituted a five-star rating system to help consumers compare and select agencies.
NEWS
January 12, 2016
By Perry Farmer and Barbara Ebling It's January, and families are facing some serious decisions about quality of life. For some, it may mean something as simple as a new gym membership. For others, the decision is far more serious. Many are looking for ways to ease the pain of a terminally ill family member through a regimen of palliative care. This year, more physicians will be doing advanced care planning. If you have Medicare, your doctor will now be reimbursed for an appointment to discuss the type of life you want when ill. Palliative care may be part of that conversation.
NEWS
December 30, 2015 | By Marie McCullough, Staff Writer
Bettemarie Bond is an overcomer. She went to college, worked full-time as an occupational therapist, and bought a house in Levittown, despite rare disorders that require her to have all nourishment and medication pumped round-the-clock into a vein in her heart. But last summer, when declining health forced her to go on disability at age 45, she faced a problem that floored her. Bond discovered that she would qualify for Medicare this month. Unlike the private health insurance she had through her job, however, the government insurer would not cover her costly intravenous therapy at home, only in a medical facility.
NEWS
December 27, 2015 | By Lisa Gillespie, KAISER HEALTH NEWS
After the last of the baby boomers become fully eligible for Medicare, the federal health program can expect significantly higher costs in 2030, because of the high number of beneficiaries and because many are expected to be significantly less healthy than previous generations. The typical Medicare beneficiary who is 65 or older then will more likely be obese, disabled, and suffering from chronic conditions such as heart disease and high blood pressure than those in 2010, according to a report by the University of Southern California Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics.
NEWS
November 18, 2015
ISSUE | MEDICARE Help kidney patients Harold Brubaker's article on Medicare Advantage open enrollment ("Seniors shopping for private Medicare have many new choices," Nov. 10) might have noted that some 4,700 beneficiaries in the Philadelphia area are not permitted to choose private plans because they have kidney failure, also known as end-stage renal disease. This prohibition may have made sense three decades ago, when private Medicare plans were created, but today it constitutes discrimination, preventing kidney patients from enjoying the maximum out-of-pocket limits that apply in private plans but not in traditional fee-for-service Medicare.
BUSINESS
November 11, 2015 | By Harold Brubaker, Inquirer Staff Writer
The financial pain of a two-week hospital stay 15 years ago for a heart ailment gives Patricia Johnstone a sharp focus when she shops for private Medicare insurance. "The hospital is the main thing I'm concerned about," said Johnstone, 75, who with her husband, Robert, attended a Health Partners Plans information session last week at the Wegmans market in Collegeville. The Johnstones were unsettled when they heard that hospital stays would cost up to $295 a day for the first six days under Health Partners, which is expanding its Medicare business into the Pennsylvania suburbs next year.
NEWS
October 17, 2015
ISSUE | CRIME AND RACE Stop the violence and police brutality Less-than-thoughtful conversations about crime and policing that lack a racial-justice lens only serve to perpetuate stereotypes of black criminality and enable acts of police criminality ("Race, crime, and police: A closer look," Sunday). When opponents of justice reform and the Black Lives Matter movement raise the specter of "black-on-black" crime, they hope to end discussions of police brutality. They would justify heavy-handed policing and deadly use of force against unarmed black people by claiming that their race is a criminal element.
NEWS
June 7, 2015 | By Robert Calandra, For The Inquirer
Today and just about every day for the next 19 years, 10,000 Americans will turn 65 years old and become eligible for Medicare, the federal health insurance program. But let's say you're nearing 65 and have an Affordable Care Act marketplace plan you like. Do you have to enroll in Medicare when your odometer flips? Well, if you don't enroll, be careful cutting the cake, because your marketplace plan may no longer cover stitches. That's because your marketplace policy "will be a secondary plan to Medicare" after you turn 65, said Joe Baker, president of the Medicare Rights Center, a national, nonprofit advocacy organization.
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