Washington Watch: Medicare changes?

Will She Do For America What She Has Done Fore Indiana?

Among the appointments to cabinet-level positions that a new president makes is to name the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). In this case, the individual proposed is Seema Verma. She heads a health policy consulting firm which has worked to redesign Medicaid and one of her most notable undertakings was in Indiana, the state where the incoming vice president was governor.

That plan reflects Verma’s idea that everyone should be personally responsible in some way for both their health and finances. In Indiana, Medicaid patients (and many of these are individuals in nursing homes) should have health savings accounts into which they make monthly deposits. According to this plan, if contributions are not made, the individual is eliminated from the program for 12 months. Furthermore, preventive care is not covered as it was found that participants could not afford it.

There is as yet no indication of any immediate changes in Medicare, which is funded differently from Medicaid, and already requires participant contributions for both Part B and Part D premiums.

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