11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and … fun 1. The bones of a seven-story-tall dinosaur, called the largest creature ever to walk the earth, were discovered in Argentina. (Learn more at NPR) 2. The outgoing Indian prime minister had 1.24 million Twitter followers before he reset the government account, making the new PM start over. (Learn more at Quartz) Honorable Outgoing PM Dr Manmohan Singh farewell speech to the nation Full Speech: http://t.co/Z7NrGabt1R pic.twitter.com/An6GyIlBRI – Yuva Desh (@yuvadesh) May 17, 2014 3. The residents of Paraguay are …

Low-Value Health Services Cost Medicare Billions

Medical services that provide little or no health benefit to older Americans cost Medicare at least $1.9 billion a year, according to a landmark new study. Researchers at Harvard University’s department of health care policy found that at least 25 percent of the more than 1.3 million Medicare beneficiaries had one or more of 26 tests and procedures that have been shown to provide scant medical value. The study is thought to be the first to measure wasteful spending by …

Who Really Pays for Health Care? It’s Not Who You Think

By Jay Hancock, Staff Writer, Kaiser Health News Eight million Americans have signed up for private health insurance – much of it government subsidized – under the Affordable Care Act. Millions more obtained new coverage through Medicaid, the government-sponsored insurance program for low-income people. The full implementation of the law – along with its wider coverage, new taxes and shifting subsidies - has brought renewed discussions and debates over the winners and the losers in the new health care landscape. Here are …

Groundhog Day for Medicare ‘Doc Fix’

Another year, another last-minute “doc fix” by Congress. Am I the only one starting to feel a little like Bill Murray in the 1993 comedy Groundhog Day? On March 31, just one day before Medicare payments to doctors would have been slashed by 24 percent, Congress approved a short-term patch to delay the payment cuts for another year. This is the 17th time in 11 years that Congress has had to delay the Medicare reimbursement cuts created by SGR (the …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and … fun 1. The venerable teenager Archie Andrews of comic book fame will die a heroic death. (Learn more at AARP) 2. Exercise helps aging brains grow bigger. (Learn more at The Atlantic) 3. Former Taco Bell interns claim the $1 billion idea now marketed as the Doritos Locos Taco was theirs nearly 20 years ago, and they have pictures to prove it.  (Learn more at Huffington Post)   Good ideas can come from anyone. Taco Bell …

Medicare Patients Now Can Do a Check-Up on Doctors

In a major data release this morning, Medicare shared information on $77 billion in payments to more than 880,000 health care providers. Consumers for the first time can look up doctors, find out the number of procedures they have performed and how much Medicare paid. This is one piece of the puzzle for determining the overall value of care being delivered. The information, from 2012 Medicare Part B payments, already has generated some eye-popping articles, with reports of one Florida ophthalmologist receiving …