National Center for Policy Analysis commentary offers medical device tax options
WASHINGTON — How hard is it to find $24 billion to offset the cost of repealing the medical device tax? As hard as it is “to find a cup of coffee at Starbucks.” That’s according to National Center for Policy Analysis senior fellow John R. Graham, in a Forbes commentary.
In his commentary, Graham urged Congress to take a look at:
▪ Medicare bad debt. The President’s budget proposes $31 billion in savings over 10 years by reducing Medicare’s coverage of bad debts owed hospitals and other facilities.
▪ Medigap plans. The President also proposes to increase deductibles for new Medicare beneficiaries, instituting a home-health deductible and adding a surcharge to Part B premiums for beneficiaries who buy Medigap (Medicare supplemental) plans.
▪ Medicare Part D exclusive pharmacies. The President has proposed allowing Medicare Part D drug plans to use more tools to reduce the abuse of prescription drugs by opioid addicts in Medicare Part D. This would reduce fraud, as described in an NCPA policy report.
▪ Medicaid provider taxes. In his February 2012 budget, President Obama proposed reforms to Medicaid provider taxes. “Provider taxes” are tricks used by hospitals and states to increase their dependence on federal Medicaid money.
▪ Site-neutral payments. This refers to paying the same fee for a procedure, whether done in an ambulatory clinic or hospital.
Click here to read the entire commentary.
NACDS highlights role of pharmacists in White House aging dialogue
ARLINGTON, Va. — On the occasion of the 2015 White House Conference on Aging, which marks the sixth such event since the first in 1961, National Association of Chain Drug Stores president and CEO Steve Anderson joined the dialogue by issuing a statement.
Held approximately once each decade, The White House Conference on Aging is viewed as a catalyst for the development of aging policy, including that related to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and the Older Americans Act.
Anderson’s statement is as follows:
“NACDS enthusiastically takes this opportunity to celebrate the lives and contributions of our nation’s older Americans. We also applaud the dedication of everyone committed to bringing about the innovations in healthcare that safeguard the future of our older Americans, and that empower their fullness of life.
“NACDS would like to take this opportunity to recognize the pharmacists in neighborhoods across the country who serve as extremely accessible and trusted healthcare providers and advocates for seniors. Pharmacists are best known for helping patients use medicines safely and correctly. When the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit was created and implemented, pharmacists were recognized by public health experts as heroes in the success of the program.
“Yet, from that foundation, additional and new pharmacy services are doing even more to improve patient health and quality of life. Examples include vaccinations, health education, and disease state testing and management. Through personal interactions with patients, face-to-face consultations and convenient access to preventive care services, pharmacies are helping to shape the healthcare delivery system of tomorrow – applying the extensive education and professionalism of pharmacists in collaboration with doctors, nurses and others.
“As the 2015 White House Conference on Aging pursues additional ideas to improve healthcare for older Americans, including improved healthcare access for the growing senior population, NACDS urges support for the approach detailed in the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act (H.R. 592 and S. 314). The legislation would make available to Medicare patients in the greatest need an array of healthcare services that pharmacists already are allowed to administer under state laws. Pharmacists are widely trusted, and their accessibility and expertise are valued especially by those who are older and who are among medically underserved communities, and who take prescription medications regularly and manage chronic diseases. It is time to bring improved quality of health and quality of life to our older Americans through the services of pharmacists, who are highly educated and ready to help.
“NACDS emphasizes that pharmacists who graduate today are required to earn a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree, a post-graduate degree that typically requires six years of college and graduate school to complete.
“NACDS looks forward to continuing to work with members of Congress, with the Administration, and with pharmacy’s partners in senior care to bring about improved access and quality of care for all Americans.”