‘Doc Fix’ In Fiscal Cliff Plan Cuts Medicare Payments to Hospitals

By Mary Agnes Carey, Senior Correspondent, Kaiser Health News Legislation passed by Congress New Year’s Day to avert the dreaded “fiscal cliff” would stop a scheduled payment cut in Medicare physician payments. But hospitals, which have to bear a major part of financing for that “doc fix,” are not happy. The bill would require that, over the next decade, hospitals pick up nearly half  of the approximately $30 billion cost of stopping a 26.5 percent payment cut for Medicare physicians, …

Over the Fiscal Cliff: What You Need to Know Right Now

Picture this: It’s the new year and Congress and the White House still don’t have a budget deal. Don’t look now, but we’ve gone over the “fiscal cliff.” That means most federal programs will be cut between 7.6 and 9.6 percent across the board. Income tax rates will go up. And there’s a host of other unresolved financial issues that we’ll be facing. What does that mean for you? We turned to a number of policy experts around AARP. Here …

Faceoff: The Fiscal Cliff and Social Security

  Two startlingly different points of view about Social Security’s role in “fiscal cliff” negotiations took shape when experts from AARP and the Heritage Foundation recently faced off on C-Span’s Washington Journal program. On one side, Cristina Martin Firvida, AARP director of consumer affairs and financial security, argued for leaving Social Security changes out of the rushed deal-making as Congress and the White House try to agree on spending cuts and tax increases. On the other side, David John, senior …

Tell Washington Not to Cut Social Security for Current Recipients

President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner are deep into negotiations on a fiscal cliff deal — and unfortunately, the hard-earned Social Security benefits of current retirees, veterans and workers with disabilities are on the table. The chained CPI proposal is positioned as a ‘slight tweak’ to the Social Security cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA). The problem is that for people who have paid into Social Security for decades, many of whom are barely scraping by with an average monthly income of under $1,300, …

‘If I’d Had to Wait Until 67 for Medicare, I’d Be Dead’

By Russ Mitchell for Kaiser Health News Sam Lewis turned 65 in the nick of time. For a year, he’d been broke. His Brentwood, Calif., general contracting business had gone bust. He couldn’t make payments on his home, and lost it. He couldn’t make payments on his health insurance, so he let it lapse. The day after his birthday in October, when he qualified for Medicare, Lewis got a checkup. Days later, he went under the knife: open-heart surgery, a …

Women Power: The Key to Avoiding the Fiscal Cliff

What would it take to keep the country from heading over the fiscal cliff? More women running the show! That seems to be the consensus of a bipartisan group of women U.S. Senators, interviewed earlier this week by ABC World News Anchor Diane Sawyer. “I think if we were in charge of the Senate and of the Administration that we would have a budget deal by now,” Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine told Sawyer, as 18 of her colleagues …