Healthcare News February 20, 2013

  • Medicare benefit structure to receive House hearing

    The House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee will hold a hearing on Medicare’s “outdated, confusing” benefit structure, the panel’s chairman announced Tuesday.

    Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said his subpanel will weigh ideas for reforming Medicare’s “array of confusing deductibles, copayments and coinsurance,” calling the effort “long overdue.” 

  • US plastic surgery rose in 2012, report finds

    Demand for cosmetic procedures rose in 2012 as more Americans asked for Botox, fillers and chemical peels, according to new figures.

    The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) reported Tuesday that the number of cosmetic procedures performed in the United States rose by 5 percent last year to 14.6 million.

    The vast sum of those procedures were minimally invasive treatments, not surgeries, the association said. 

  • House Dems target insurers’ antitrust exemption

    House Democrats reintroduced a bill Tuesday that would revoke the health insurance industry’s exemption from antitrust laws — a liberal priority that failed to make the cut for President Obama’s healthcare reform law.

    Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) introduced the measure, which would subject health insurers to federal antitrust laws.

    “Right now, it is legal under federal law for insurance companies to collude to drive up prices, limit competition, conspire to underpay doctors and hospitals, and price gouge consumers,” DeFazio said in a statement. “We must address the rapidly escalating cost of health insurance premiums, and this bill is a great first step.”

  • Insurers: Medicare Advantage cuts would be ‘crushing blow’

    The insurance industry said Tuesday that plans to cut payments to private Medicare Advantage plans will hurt seniors’ access to care.

    The Health and Human Services Department said Friday that Medicare Advantage plans will face a 2.2 percent payment cut in 2014.

    America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) said the cuts go too far.

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