Despite the jargon uttered at a recent Senate Finance Committee hearing, it seemed crystal clear that senators have a firm understanding that health care services for many of the nation's sickest people—those enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid—are so poorly organized that tens of billions of dollars are wasted each year.
Young adults appear to be flocking to their parents' health insurance policies, based on the release of yet another set of federal statistics showing an uptick in the number of Americans ages 19 to 25 with coverage.
The Department of Health and Human Services has fleshed out the details on how states can cooperate with the federal government in setting up health insurance exchanges, a middle ground between states going it alone or leaving it to the federal government to completely take over their exchange operations, something neither side likely wants to happen.
Insurers and administration health officials sparred over a federal push to convince state officials to more closely scrutinize insurance premium increases. The two sides traded charges as the Department of Health and Human Services announced $109 million in grants to help 29 states push back against proposed premium increases.
To what degree do prices, not the volume of health care services, account for rising health costs? To what extent do Medicare cuts cause hospitals and doctors to charge more to private insurers, leading them to increase premiums?
Members of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners are developing a letter to members of Congress in which they will oppose attempts to extract more money from Medicare enrollees who buy Medigap insurance—an option the president has now backed for new enrollees.