Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Issa Subpoenas HHS For Medicare Advantage Documents

Kaiser Health News has a roundup of Rep. Darrell Issa's (R-Ca) overtaxed patience with hhs issuing a subpoena to them for docs related to their 'demonstration' programs with medicare advantage.
Politico: Issa Subpoenas Documents On Medicare Demo
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa subpoenaed the Obama administration Monday for documents he believes will expose Medicare malfeasance by Department of Health and Human Services officials. The move, confirmed by an aide to the California Republican, makes good on a threat Issa issued last week, when he demanded reams of data from HHS by 5 p.m. on Thursday. Although the agency dumped 1,300 pages at his doorstep just before the deadline, he contended that the information was garbled and unresponsive to his request (Cheney, 10/22).
CQ HealthBeat: Issa Subpoenas Documents On Medicare Advantage Program
The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee issued a subpoena Monday for documents related to a Medicare Advantage demonstration project. ... Republicans have attacked the three-year demonstration, which would increase payments to private health care plans in Medicare, as a way to cover up cuts to the Medicare Advantage program that were included in the 2010 health care law. ... But on Monday, Elijah E. Cummings, the top Democrat on the Oversight panel, accused Issa of playing politics.
"Since HHS committed to producing the documents and is already in the process of producing them, this subpoena seems to be just for show ahead of the presidential election," the Maryland Democrat said in an emailed statement (Attias, 10/22).
Fox News: Issa Issues Subpoena Over HHS Documents
Issa claims the bonus program is being used to mask the first round of Medicare Advantage cuts in connection with the health care overhaul -- in order to win favor with seniors. "It's an unbelievable abuse of power," he said Thursday. Issa said the program basically funds "what ObamaCare took away." The program in question is called a "demonstration" project. But Issa complains the project is far more sweeping than a run-of-the-mill test program, and conveniently lasts until 2014. "This is larger than every test they've ever done at HHS combined," Issa said (10/22).
Meanwhile, there is also concern among Republicans about Medicare ID theft.
The Hill: GOP Lawmakers Slam HHS Over Identity-Theft Risk In Medicare
Leaders on a top House committee are pushing the federal Health Department to change the way it identifies people on Medicare. To reduce the risk of identity theft, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) must remove Social Security numbers from the Medicare card, the GOP lawmakers charged Monday. Reps. Wally Herger (R-Calif.) and Sam Johnson (R-Texas) of the House Ways and Means Committee have argued several times that health officials should overhaul the Medicare card. On Monday, they linked their cause to a new report finding flaws in the way HHS responds to the problem of Medicare identity theft (Viebeck, 10/22).
CQ HealthBeat: HHS Inspector General Raps CMS On Medicare ID Theft Protection
Federal Medicare officials reported 14 breaches of medical information in two years affecting nearly 14,000 beneficiaries, but they failed to notify those affected in a timely way and often did not give them much information about the violation, the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services said in a new report. In response to worries about medical identity theft, the government has set up a database with the Medicare ID numbers of 284,000 beneficiaries and 5,000 providers that have been involved in medical identity theft in the past or are regarded as vulnerable. But Medicare contractors have problems using the database, and few remedies are available for those whose numbers have been compromised, the OIG report said (Norman, 10/22).
This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.

Thanks to Kaiser, all reporters involved, and especially to Representative Issa.

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