What We're Reading: Nursing Home Staffing Concerns; Dark Money in Anti-ACA Push; Medicare for All Costs

July 30, 2018
AJMC Staff

Medicare has lowered its star ratings for staffing levels in 1 out of 11 nursing homes; the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America has donated to a lobbying group running a "dark money" campaign in favor of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act; a libertarian policy center funded by the conservative Koch brothers found that Senator Bernie Sanders's Medicare for All plan would cost $32.6 trillion over 10 years.

Medicare Star Ratings Fall for 1400 Nursing Homes

Medicare has lowered its star ratings for staffing levels in 1 out of 11 nursing homes—about 1400 of them—because they were either inadequately staffed with registered nurses or failed to provide payroll data that proved they had the required nursing coverage, The New York Times reported. Medicare’s 5-star rating system is a tool for families searching for nursing homes, and the rankings are published on the government’s Nursing Home Compare website. Medicare only recently began collecting and publishing payroll data on the staffing of nursing homes as required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010. Before 2010, the government relied on the nursing homes’ own unverified reports.

PhRMA Funds Lobbying Group Behind Push to Repeal ACA

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, better known as PhRMA, is funding a lobbying group running a dark money campaign in favor of repealing and replacing the ACA, Kaiser Health News reported. PhRMA was in favor of the ACA in 2010, but has now contributed $6.1 million to the American Action Network, which is closely associated with House Republicans, who have been trying to do away with the landmark health law.

Price Tag of Sander's Medicare for All: $32.6 Trillion, Analysis Says

A libertarian policy center funded by the conservative Koch brothers found that Senator Bernie Sanders's Medicare for All plan would cost $32.6 trillion over 10 years, according to The Associated Press. Sanders, and independent from Vermont, wants Medicare to cover all residents with no deductibles and or copays for medical services. The analysis, released by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Virginia, said the plan would deliver significant savings on administration and drug costs, but increased demand for care would drive up spending, the analysis found.