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Reading the Stars: Nursing Home Quality Star Ratings, Nationally and by State

This issue brief presents national and state-level analysis of nursing homes based on the Five-Star Quality Rating System, recently updated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to help consumers compare nursing homes when selecting one for themselves or their family members. The issue brief finds that more than one-third (36%) of the nation’s 15,500 nursing homes certified by Medicare or Medicaid received relatively low ratings of 1 or 2 stars (out of a possible 5 stars). In 11 states, at least 40 percent of nursing homes in the state have 1- or 2-star ratings. In 23 states, however, at least half of the nursing homes have 4- or 5- star ratings. This issue brief discusses relevant policy considerations regarding nursing home quality—a serious issue in light of the vulnerability of the nursing home population and recent reports of problems arising from inadequate staffing, fire safety hazards, and substandard care.

Medicare 101: What You Need To Know

Hosted by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Alliance for Health Reform, this briefing reviewed basic questions about the Medicare program, such as: What services does Medicare provide, and how does Medicare pay for these services? How is Medicare financed? What changes did the Affordable Care Act (ACA) make to Medicare? How fast is Medicare spending growing? What are current proposals to strengthen Medicare for the future, and what are prospects for action in the new Congress?

The Story of Medicare: A Timeline

Written and produced by Foundation staff, The Story of Medicare: A Timeline serves as a visual timeline of Medicare’s history, including the debate that led to its creation in 1965 and subsequent changes, such as the passage and repeal of the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act in the 1980s, the Medicare Modernization Act in 2003, and the Affordable Care Act in 2012.

Medicare and Medicaid at 50 and Beyond

This collection of videos, reports, interactives tools and other content examine the history of Medicare and Medicaid and look ahead to future opportunities and challenges.

Medicare Timeline

In 1965, Medicare was created to provide health insurance for the nation’s seniors beginning in 1966. Fifty years later, the program covers over 54 million people – primarily seniors but also others under age 65 with permanent disabilities. Medicare helps pay for a range of medical services, including hospital stays, physician visits, preventive benefits, and starting in 2006, prescription drugs. This timeline provides an overview of changes that have shaped the Medicare program over the past five decades.

Medicare’s Income-Related Premiums: A Data Note

This data note presents new information to help set a context for understanding the implications of proposed changes to Medicare’s income-related premiums. It describes current-law requirements with respect to the income-related premiums under Medicare Part B and Part D, including the number and share of Medicare beneficiaries who are estimated to pay income-related premiums and revenues raised from the income-related premium, based on data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Office of the Actuary (OACT).

A Primer on Medicare: Key Facts About the Medicare Program and the People it Covers

This primer explains key elements of the Medicare program, which now provides health coverage to 55 million people — including 46 million people age 65 and older and another 9 million younger adults with permanent disabilities. It looks at the characteristics of the Medicare population, what benefits are covered, how much people with Medicare pay for their benefits and the program’s overall costs and future financing challenges.

How Much (More) Will Seniors Pay for a Doc Fix?

In this Policy Insight, the Foundation’s Cristina Boccuti and Tricia Neuman examine how Congress’ effort to permanently stave off scheduled cuts in Medicare’s physician payments could affect what Medicare beneficiaries pay for their care — both in premiums and in other potential changes — to offset the cost of the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) “doc fix.”

Summary of Medicare Provisions in the President’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2016

On February 2, 2015, the Office of Management and Budget released President Obama’s budget for fiscal year (FY) 2016, which includes provisions related to federal spending and revenues, including Medicare savings. The President’s FY2016 budget proposal would reduce net Medicare spending by $423 billion between 2016 and 2025, and is estimated to extend the solvency of the Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund by approximately five years. This brief summarizes the Medicare provisions included in the President’s FY2016 Budget.