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Medicare

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Thousands of advocates have flooded the federal government with comments this week, weighing in on whether it should reverse an Obama-era decision to strip Texas of millions in federal funding for a health care program that excludes abortion providers and their affiliates. 

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A vote on the Senate's health care bill has been delayed until after the July 4 recess. If the bill is passed, it will roll back programs like Medicaid and Medicare, and the Congressional Budget Office predicts 22 million more people will be uninsured by 2026.

Since Republicans have plans to repeal the federal health law, should consumers still sign up for next year's coverage? And if the health law marketplaces disappear, might Medicare eligibility be expanded? Here are answers to some recent questions from readers.

It sounds like Republicans plan to repeal the health law in January once Donald Trump is sworn in. Since open enrollment goes until the end of January, should I just wait and see what happens before signing up?

President-elect Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan agree that repealing the Affordable Care Act and replacing it with some other health insurance system is a top priority.

But they disagree on whether overhauling Medicare should be part of that plan. Medicare is the government-run health system for people age 65 and older and the disabled.

Trump said little about Medicare during his campaign, other than to promise that he wouldn't cut it.

Ryan, on the other hand, has Medicare in his sights.

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If you’re a Medicare patient, finding a doctor in Texas can be a challenge.  And there’s a chance Congress is  about to make the task even harder.

In Texas, only 58 percent of doctors take new Medicare patients. That’s partly because reimbursement rates are so low.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

For years the government has been trying to convince doctors to trade in their pads and pens for computers and tablets – and not just because their handwriting is often illegible. The switch plays a fundamental role in achieving the promises of Obamacare -- lower costs and more access. Not all North Texas physicians are taking the bait.

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Attention seniors, you will not lose Medicare coverage when the health insurance marketplace opens in October, nor will you have to go to the new online exchange to sign up for plans.

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The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Souce: Dartmouth Atlas Project at The Dartmouth Institute For Health Policy And Clinical Practices.

When you’re leaving the hospital, the last thing you want to think about is being readmitted in a couple weeks. The odds of that happening are surprisingly high. Starting in October, as part of the Affordable Care Act, more than 2,000 hospitals will be penalized for high readmission rates. Two hospitals in North Texas are trying to tackle the problem of high readmissions, with technology.

Marlith

Four schools in North Texas went into lockdown Tuesday morning for various reasons. Campus security officials are on heightened alert after last week’s school shooting in Connecticut.

Erica Feliciano

The state of Texas is restoring some cuts it made to low-income, elderly patients on Medicare and Medicaid.

You've seen the attack ads on TV. State Senator Wendy Davis, a Democrat, and her Republican challenger, Mark Shelton were throwing elbows Thursday during their first debate.

Tim Baker / flickr

Some North Texas hospitals will lose Medicare money starting in October. They’re being penalized because certain elderly patients were readmitted to the hospital soon after being discharged.  

Texas A&M University has been awarded one of three national biodefense contracts to help the country quickly develop vaccines in the event of a pandemic and strategies for responding to bioterrorism.

KERA

 

The  teacher “sick out” called for today by an anonymous Dallas teacher never materialized, according to the DISD. 

Bill Zeeble

The owner of a Texas medical service provider is among seven people indicted in a health care fraud scheme that allegedly bilked Medicare and Medicaid of nearly $375 million.

KERA

Federal officials have arrested Rockwall Doctor Jacques Roy and his office manager in what authorities say is the largest alleged home health fraud in U.S. history.

Parkland Hospital says it will not release an independent audit that found safety problems in 15 hospital departments. KERA’s BJ Austin says that’s not what Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins wants to hear.