Medicare and MedicaidWith all of the changes to these health care systems, are you going to be affected? Here’s a sample of some of the news about Medicare and Medicaid from the past few weeks.
> Congressional leaders from the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Senate Finance Committee sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius asking to clarify the blended rate proposal on Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program). Committee leaders are asking for the legislative and policy requirements of the blended matching rate proposal by July 27, 2012. The blended rate proposal could ultimately affect states decision whether to expand Medicaid or not.
> Physicians are not taking the new Medicare Fraud Strategy well. The Office of Inspector General made aggressive moves to stop Medicaid fraud. This involved freezing reimbursements to providers and physicians allegedly involved in fraud. At present, 88 providers are not receiving any Medicaid funds as their payments are on hold.
> Enrollment for the Dual-eligibles demonstration project will be open to two million people, according to the director of the Medicare-Medicaid Coordination Office, Melanie Bella.
> According to a recent study by the Commonwealth Fund, Medicare beneficiaries are more satisfied with the health care coverage they are getting than working-age adults with private health insurance plans.
> The Children’s hospital largely relies on Medicaid. The ruling from the Supreme Court allowing states to opt out of the Medicaid expansion ultimately creates a huge impact on the Children’s hospitals.
> Based on a report from the Institute of Medicine, fixing Medicare’s geographic adjustments could help improve payment accuracy. However, it will not address the problems faced when it comes to access and health care quality matters.
> Lynn Nicholas, president and CEO of the Massachusetts Hospital Association, said that reduced reimbursement is not reform and it should not be mistaken to decrease health care expenses.
> By 2013, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals will get $859.2 million from the $7.7 billion budget for Medicaid.

Wiley Long is founder and president of Medigap Advisors, and is passionate about helping people navigate the confusing waters of Medicare. He is the author of The Medicare Playbook: Designing Your Successful Health Coverage Strategy, a clear and simple explanation so you can make the most of your Medicare coverage. For more information visit