Which Tom Price Will Advise Donald Trump On Medicare

Georgia Congressman Tom Price, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to run the Department of Health and Human Services, is a bundle of contradictions when it comes to Medicare.

He certainly is not alone. Trump and congressional Republicans have sent their own very mixed signals about Medicare. The House GOP very much wants to turn the program into what it calls premium support, where the federal government gives seniors a fixed amount of money to buy health insurance on the private market.  While this idea would not necessarily eliminate fee-for-service Medicare (though it could), it would certainly increase participation in managed care plans, known as Medicare Advantage.

Nursing Homes Can Continue to Require Residents To Agree To Binding Arbitration

It looks like nursing homes will continue to be able to require residents and their families to agree in advance to arbitrate disputes with the facilities, despite an attempt by federal regulators to curb the practice.

Late last year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a major rewrite of its nursing home regulations. Most of those rules were backed by both the industry and consumer groups but one became a flashpoint. It barred nursing homes from requiring patients to agree to binding arbitration at admission, though facilities and residents could still agree to use the process after a dispute arises.

How To Prevent The Challenges Of Aging Parents and Battling Siblings From Ruining Your Holidays

Your family gets together for the holidays. You expect one of those wonderful Hallmark moments but instead…disaster. There are always issues at family get-togethers (Clinton v. Trump, Sue’s gravy v. Tom’s), but when it comes to adult children and their aging parents, the landmines seem to be everywhere. Here are four ways to turn holiday challenges into opportunities—for you, your siblings, and your aging parents.

Mom doesn’t seem herself. She seems quieter than usual, or a bit confused. That stuffing she’s been making for 50 years isn’t quite right. What’s going on, and what do you do?

What Happens To Long-Term Care If Trump Remakes Medicare and Medicaid

Washington is buzzing with speculation about how President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican majority in Congress will remake Medicare and Medicaid. But neither the incoming administration nor the Hill GOP is giving much thought to what those changes would mean for frail older adults and younger people with disabilities. By failing to do so, they are creating a potential crisis and missing an opportunity.

About 12 million Americans require long-term supports and services (LTSS), a number expected to double in two decades. More than 80 percent of that care is delivered to people in their own homes.

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How Faith Communities And Hospitals Can Work Together To Help Older Adults

Older adults with chronic illness often need a combination of medical treatment and social and spiritual supports. Together, they can make people healthier and happier, and less likely to suffer acute episodes that result in preventable hospitalizations. The medical treatment comes from doctors, hospitals, and health systems while the spiritual support comes from faith communities. And, in many cases, so does the social support.

But how can they work together? The worlds of medicine and faith speak different languages, often have different goals, and struggle to find common ground. Yet, I’ve found some interesting examples where, by working together, they can improve the well-being of seniors in their communities.

Genworth’s CEO On The Future Of Long-Term Care Insurance, Government Catastrophic Coverage, And Going Private

Last month, Genworth, the biggest seller of long-term care insurance policies in the US, announced it was being acquired by a Chinese investor, China Oceanwide Holdings. I spoke with Genworth CEO Tom McInerney about the deal, the future of long-term care insurance, and the role of government in covering true catastrophic risk. Here is an edited version of our conversation.

Q: Why did you do the deal with China Oceanwide?

 Dementia Rates Are Falling In the US

An important new national study finds that, after adjusting for age, Americans 65 and older are less likely to get dementia than in the past. The report, published in the Journal of the American Medical Assn (JAMA) confirms previous regional studies in the US as well as recent research in Europe. The reasons for this decline in prevalence of the many dementia-related diseases are complicated, but may be related to higher educational levels. Whatever the cause, the news is positive.

How Trump May Remake Medicare

During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump was largely silent on Medicare, though he often suggested he’d leave the program untouched. Not any more. It now looks as if Trump may push for major changes in the principal health care program for older adults and some younger people with disabilities. But what will he do?

He has not said, but House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has been explicit about what he has in mind, and since the election Trump seems to have adopted much of Ryan’s language, suggesting he may also embrace his policy proposals. Those include redesigning the basic financial structure of the program and making Medicare Advantage managed care plans more attractive.

What The Trump Presidency Means for Seniors

The election of Donald Trump, along with continued Republican majorities in the House and Senate, will likely result in major cuts in federal programs that benefit older adults and younger people with disabilities.

Some of the programs that could be targeted: Medicaid, important reforms in the way health care is delivered through Medicare, and services funded through the Older Americans Act such as Meals on Wheels, adult day, information assistance. And while Trump vowed throughout his campaign to leave Social Security and Medicare untouched, congressional Republicans have targeted both programs and it is not clear whether the new president would resist their efforts to cut benefits.

How The Battle Against Opiods Could Put Some Older Adults At Risk

There is no doubt that the widespread over-use of opiods has become a serious public health problem in the US. But I worry that older adults with palliative care needs may become unintended casualties of efforts to reduce the use and accessibility of these powerful drugs.

The opiod problem is real. Nearly 30,000 Americans died from use of these drugs in 2014. Some were stolen or counterfeited, but many were prescribed by physicians who were lazy, incompetent, or corrupt. The opiod epidemic meme has even found its way into popular culture. The other day, John Oliver went on one of his famous 20-minute rants against the overuse of the drugs and who he thought was to blame (Big Pharma, in case you were wondering).