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Articles written by Alan M. Schlein

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 By Alan M. Schlein    Columns    April 1, 2021 

Analysis: What's in, what's out for seniors in the American Rescue Plan

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) coronavirus stimulus package, which President Joe Biden signed into law in March, was designed to defeat the virus, get vaccines in the arms of Americans, checks in the pockets of those who need it, and jump-start the U...

 

Good news for bad outcomes of surprise billing

Some significant changes affecting seniors on health care issues may have gotten lost in the tumultuous whirlwind changes between the end of the Trump administration and the start of the Biden administration. Amid the increasing intensity of the...

 

Analysis: Biden's rocky path to health care improvement and reform

President-elect Joe Biden will not get a traditional honeymoon from Congressional lawmakers to start off his new administration in January. It will severely limit what he can accomplish on his ambitio...

 

Positive paradigms emerging for long term care living

So far, almost 40 percent of the nation's more than 240,000 COVID-19 deaths are from seniors living in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. As the coronavirus pushes into what...

 

Soaring drug prices provoke scathing hearings, Congressional report

Enormous drug company profits are the primary driver of soaring prescription drug prices in America, according to an investigation that Democrats on the House Oversight Committee released recently. The report, based on an 18-month investigation...

 

Social Security: Policy, politics, fact and fiction

The misleading ads and distorted facts have not quite hit the level of the 2011 classic “granny off the cliff” political ad where an elderly woman was being foisted from her wheelchair over the edge of a cliff, which then-House Speaker Paul Ryan...

 

Where the two presidential candidates stand on senior issues

Major-party presidential candidates Trump and Biden have dramatically different visions for the future on health care issues. So in assessing their policy positions, it's also important to look at...

 

Trump is still pushing for ACA repeal

Amid the sharp political divides over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic and ongoing racial protests, the Trump administration continues its push to invalidate the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through the courts – a move that could prove to be...

 

COVID-19 realities: Those here now and those likely coming soon

As the nation moves into whatever "reopening" the next phase of the COVID-19 challenge means, the pandemic's mark on American health will be a permanent one in good ways and unfortunate ones too. The...

 

Life and death in senior living facilities: More fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic

Getting older in America will never be the same, after the astonishing death toll in nursing homes and senior housing facilities has revealed just how flawed the nation’s system of care is. The fallout could completely collapse the nursing home...

 
 By Alan M. Schlein    Columns    May 1, 2020

The doctor is in on your nearest screen, hopefully.

With social distancing, depression, isolation and loneliness hitting the nation’s seniors particularly hard as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the federal government has made big changes to Medicare to help doctors reach patients easier witho...

 

Washington Watch: High drug costs top voter concern

Despite a genuine consensus that something must be done, Congressional efforts to rein in drug prices remain stalled and more than likely dead until after the November elections. Even with rhetoric rising on how important controlling drug prices is...

 

Analysis: Health, money, politics -- what's in it for you (or not)?

President Donald Trump recently has been making a striking claim – insisting he has ensured that people with preexisting medical conditions continue to have health insurance coverage. In tweets, at campaign rallies and even at his recent State of...

 

Analysis: Congress' ongoing paralysis and political wrangling

Congressional lawmakers find themselves caught between the unlikely and the impossible as they try and work through complicated issues like drug price controls. With the sharp partisan divide, the ongoing impeachment of President Trump, the upcoming...

 

New efforts to improve medical cost transparency

While President Trump has not had much success on the drug price reform front, his administration is making modest progress on a different front – announcing two regulatory changes that Trump hopes will provide more easy-to-read price information t...

 

Better care? Lower costs? Better value?

The Trump administration has proposed to overhaul decades-old Medicare rules that were originally meant to counter self-dealing and financial kickbacks among medical providers such as hospitals, clinics and doctors. But the administration says these...

 

How about a Peace Corps for caregivers?

The numbers are simply staggering. People 85 and older – who usually have multiple chronic illnesses or have difficulty performing some daily tasks – will mushroom to 14.6 million in 2040, up from about 6 million now. So who is going to take...

 

Still in limbo: Senior health, hunger and finances

Congress is making its end-of-year legislative sprint, with hot-button health care legislation stuck behind critical must-pass spending bills before a government shutdown. But lawmakers often push shutdowns off with temporary all-inclusive spending...

 

Student load debt is a crisis for seniors

If you think America's college loan crisis – with more than $1.5 trillion worth of debt – is only a young person's problem, think again. The federal government is now garnishing the fixed-income Social Security benefits of seniors in its...

 
 By Alan M. Schlein    News    May 1, 2019

Analysis: Old is the new young on Capitol Hill

The old baseball star Satchel Paige is supposed to have said: Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind it does not matter. On Capitol Hill, old seems to be the new young. In the House of Representatives, the top three leaders are...

 

Weighing Social Security policies and politics

Congressional Democrats are pushing an ambitious plan to expand Social Security and put it on a sustained long-term footing in an effort to overturn 20 years of attempts by congressional Republicans to scale back entitlement programs like Medicare...

 

Washington Watch: High pill prices are hard to swallow

House Democrats, Senate Republicans and the Trump administration agree on one thing – that drug prices must be lowered. Both parties are working through the ideas to reduce prescription drug costs, but the problem is finding common ground and...

 

New Congress has an ambitious health care agenda, but can they accomplish anything?

When the next Congress begins its work in January, lawmakers from both parties will try to work with the Trump administration to pass vital health care legislation. But getting a political advantage...

 

Still trying to fix the donut hole

The formidable pharmaceutical industry wants to recoup the $11.8 billion hit it took earlier this year in Congress’s 2018 budget deal. The drugmakers rarely lose, able to use clout and pressure in every House and Senate district to get what they...

 

The pros and cons of 'Right to Try' legislation

Congress managed to pass well-intentioned legislation recently allowing people with life-threatening illnesses to bypass the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to obtain experimental medications. Unfortunately, it won’t do much to help the people...

 

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