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Explaining Health Reform: Key Changes in the Medicare Advantage Program

This brief examines the changes in the 2010 health reform law affecting the Medicare Advantage program, which gives beneficiaries the option of enrolling in private insurance plans for their Medicare benefits, instead of the traditional fee-for-service program. The reform law will gradually reduce Medicare payments to these plans to bring…

Medicaid Financing Issues: Provider Taxes

Current law allows states to use revenue from provider taxes to help fund the state share of spending on Medicaid, a program that is jointly financed by the states and the federal government. Almost all states have at least one provider tax in place. This issue brief reviews the use…

Raising Medicare Premiums for Higher-Income Beneficiaries: Assessing the Implications

As policymakers consider ways to slow the growth in Medicare spending as part of broader efforts to reduce the federal debt or offset the cost of other spending priorities, some have proposed to increase beneficiary contributions through higher Medicare premiums. This issue brief explains provisions of current law that impose income-related premiums under Medicare Part B and Part D, describes recent proposals to modify these requirements, and analyzes the potential implications for the Medicare population.

Explaining Health Care Reform: What is Comparative Effectiveness Research?

The brief examines current funding for comparative effectiveness research, the provisions included in the current health reform legislation, and issues related to which treatments that might be studied, whether and how to weigh costs of care, and how such findings will be used and shared with health-care practitioners and the…

Pulling it Together: An Actuarial Rorschach Test

Drew Altman, Larry Levitt, Gary Claxton My colleagues have worked on this column with me and I invited them to join me as authors. As with pretty much every other discussion of health care going back to the days of Roosevelt, the great reform debate of 2009 (and now 2010)…

Financial Incentives in the Long-Term Care Context: A First Look at Relevant Information

Financial Incentives in the Long-Term Care Context: A First Look at Relevant Information This report reviews Medicare’s payment policies as they may affect medical care for residents in long-term care environments, including a look at the financial incentives that could play a role in hospital and skilled nursing facility admissions.…

Raising Medicare’s Eligibility Age: A Complex Proposition

The Alliance for Health Reform and the Kaiser Family Foundation present a briefing to discuss the complexities of raising the age for Medicare eligibility. Speakers address questions on how this proposed change may affect beneficiaries, employers, and the workforce, as well as the cost and coverage implications for those approaching…

Implications Of A Federal Block Grant Program For Medicaid

This issue brief examines the broad implications of converting Medicaid to block grant financing, one of several ideas that have been put forth to help reduce the federal deficit. The paper, which does not analyze any specific proposal, notes that switching to block grant financing would fundamentally alter the Medicaid…

Proposed Changes to Medicare in the “Path to Prosperity”: Overview and Key Questions

This brief examines key Medicare provisions included in “The Path to Prosperity: Restoring America’s Promise,” a long-term budget proposal released by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan on April 5, 2011, which outlines a strategy for reducing federal spending and reducing the national debt over time. The Medicare provisions are among…

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.