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Medicare’s ‘Innovation Center’ rebalancing quality and cost

WASHINGTON — They work for the government and even their closest relatives have no idea what they do. It’s not because they’re spies or nuclear scientists, but because their jobs are so arcane: trying to reinvent Medicare to improve it, and maybe save taxpayers money.

Date: 04/18/2016 | Nation & World

A look at the buffet your taxes provide

This being early April, I found myself working on my taxes during some beautiful sunny weather last weekend — and wishing I'd done them the week before, when it was raining!It's too bad paying taxes feels like such a solitary activity, because it's really a community...

Date: 04/06/2016 | Opinion Columnists

Deficit-slashing plan advances through House panel

WASHINGTON — A key House panel Wednesday approved a GOP plan to eliminate the federal budget deficit without tax increases demanded by Democrats, relying on sharp cuts to federal health care programs, government aid to the poor, and hundreds of domestic programs supported by lawmakers in both...

Date: 03/17/2016 | Nation & World

Baby boomer trend: Golden years in poor health

After the last of the baby boomers become fully eligible for Medicare, the federal health program can expect significantly higher costs in 2030 both because of the high number of beneficiaries and because many are expected to be significantly less healthy than previous generations.

Date: 12/20/2015 | Nation & World

Tacoma, Spokane hospitals settle over mischarging allegations

TACOMA — Two hospitals in Washington state are among 32 in 15 states agreeing to make payments to settle allegations that they submitted false claims to the federal Medicare program for a type of procedure.

Date: 12/19/2015 | Northwest

Medicare to spend $9 billion on hepatitis C drugs

WASHINGTON — Medicare spending on breakthrough medications for hepatitis C will nearly double this year, passing $9 billion, according to new government figures. That’s raising insurance costs for all beneficiaries, whether or not they have the liver-wasting viral disease.

Date: 11/14/2015 | Nation & World

Blaming baby boomers won’t fix Medicare

In the course of human events, many things need fixing. One of them is the cost of Medicare, climbing rapidly as baby boomers enroll in large numbers.We can argue over how to contain this major federal expense, and we should. But assigning blame for the problem on anyone...

Date: 11/12/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Debate over Medicare, Social Security, other benefits divides GOP

WASHINGTON - Republicans are openly feuding over whether to seek drastic changes to Medicare, Social Security and other entitlement programs, risking a potentially damaging intraparty battle ahead of the 2016 elections.

Date: 11/05/2015 | Nation & World

Help available to weigh Medicare options

Earlier this year, Medicare celebrated its 50th anniversary. For a half-century, older Americans and other beneficiaries have set out each autumn to choose their Medicare coverage for the year ahead. Nearly 289,000 people here in the Seattle-Everett area are part of this annual rite of...

Date: 11/05/2015 | Commentary

GOP taps new speaker, OKs budget deal

WASHINGTON — House Republicans embraced a new leader Wednesday and swiftly consented to a major budget-and-debt deal to avert a federal financial crisis, highlights of a day of dramatic fresh starts at the Capitol after years of division and disarray.Wisconsin Rep.

Date: 10/29/2015 | Nation & World

Default looms: No U.S. budget plan in sight

WASHINGTON — Washington is barreling toward a deadline to raise the government's borrowing cap and avert a first-ever default on U.S. payments, but there's no sign yet on Capitol Hill of a viable solution.Instead, the Republican-controlled House is moving ahead on tea...

Date: 10/21/2015 | Business Wire

Next president fortunate to have Obamacare to build on

The morning of the recent Republican debate, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that the number of uninsured Americans in 2014 had dropped by about 9 million from the year before. This was thanks, of course, to the Affordable Care Act.So it did cross one's mind that at least...

Date: 09/22/2015 | Opinion Columnists

We can save Medicare by funding Alzheimer’s research better

Current quibbling over what Jeb Bush meant when he said it's time to phase out and replace Medicare — as opposed to "attacking the seniors," as one woman at a recent event bellowed out — will soon seem quaint against the realities of our future.Never...

Date: 07/26/2015 | Opinion Columnists

Protect access to health care

With Medicare and Medicaid turning 50 on July 30, it is worth asking: How have the programs changed, and how have they changed the country and Washington?The first major change? Easy: size. More than 19 million Americans enrolled in Medicare during its first open enrollment...

Date: 07/25/2015 | Commentary

Scientists see progress in treating dementia

WASHINGTON — More than 4,000 scientists from around the world will gather in Washington this week to share the latest findings and ideas on Alzheimer's disease, with some saying that the odds of finding effective treatments look promising even as an aging society increases the...

Date: 07/19/2015 | Nation & World

Medicare to cover end-of-life counseling

WASHINGTON — Medicare said Wednesday it plans to pay doctors to counsel patients about end-of-life care, the same idea that sparked accusations of “death panels” and fanned a political furor around President Barack Obama’s health care law six years ago.

Date: 07/09/2015 | Nation & World

Hearing aids should be Medicare benefit

"The ACA is here to stay" — and so are profound health care inequities, unless corrected.Public support for the Affordable Care Act is weakest among the elderly, and not without good reason: Those 65 and older are already covered by Medicare, and many are...

Date: 07/09/2015 | Commentary

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