Transforming Nursing Will Improve Health Care

Creating a larger, more highly skilled nursing workforce will improve access to higher-quality, more patient-centered, and more affordable care. That is especially important now: Demand for nursing care is growing as the population ages and millions more people are entering the health care system under the Affordable Care Act. At AARP, we have made it our mission to ensure that all people have access to a highly skilled nurse when and where they need one. Nurses, the largest segment of …

Lifting the Veil on Hospital Charges

This year, Medicare took a major step toward promoting real price transparency for hospital care. The federal agency posted online the prices charged by more than 3,000 hospitals for the most common inpatient and outpatient procedures. This caught the attention of media across the nation. Medicare’s public release of hospital charge data was the first time that hospital charges had been aggregated to show a “bundled” price for specific procedures, including all hospital-related services except physician fees. Previously, data were …

Looking beyond Medicare lifetime taxes and benefits

You may have seen the reports (2012 update and Alternative Assumptions) by Eugene Steuerle and Caleb Quakenbush from the Urban Institute showing lifetime taxes paid and benefits received from Social Security and Medicare. The authors estimate that an average male who earns the average wage during his working years and turns 65 in 2020 will pay $77,000 in Medicare taxes and receive $232,000 in Medicare benefits. These numbers vary by gender, marital status, age, and year in which the person …

Seniors Get Hung Up in Health Care Scams

This Kaiser Health News story was produced in collaboration with NPR. By Jenny Gold, Kaiser Health News Staff Writer One recent morning, 86-year-old Evelyne Lois Such was sitting at her kitchen table in Denver when the phone rang.  She didn’t recognize the phone number or the deep voice on the other end of the line. “He asked if I was a senior, and I said yes, and he said we are sending out all new Medicare cards and I want …

4 Ways Obama’s Budget Would Change Medicare

Adapted from an article by Mary Agnes Carey, Senior Correspondent, Kaiser Health News President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2014 budget includes a variety of what he says are “manageable” changes for Medicare’s 54 million beneficiaries as well as for the hospitals, nursing homes and other health care providers that serve them. That assessment has drawn concern from some patient and provider groups that, although recognizing the need to address the nation’s rising health care costs, say seniors shouldn’t bear the brunt …

She Runs the Biggest Federal Agency – and Now May Land the Job

President Obama first nominated Marilyn Tavenner to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) almost 2-1/2 years ago. She’s been running the agency, the federal government’s largest, as acting administrator for more than a year. CMS has a $820 billion budget, oversees health insurance for 100 million Americans and is charged with implementing the health care law. Related: Sequester Fallout: Where Will Medicare Patients Get Chemo? On April 9, the Senate Finance Committee will hold her confirmation hearing. …