Medicare testing ground
Lower prices, rising concerns

About this project

The Inland Empire is a new testing ground for whether the federal government and health consumers can finally do something about rising health costs. Medicare is rolling out a new competitive bidding program that it says will reduce the costs of certain medical equipment by 30 percent or more. Yet what would seem to be a classic, all-American way to deal with pricing – through competition – and with happy winners – taxpayers and Medicare recipients -- turns out not to be that simple. We dive into the debate over the program.

Findings

  • The Inland Empire is a new testing ground for whether the federal government and health consumers can finally do something about rising health costs.
  • Medicare is rolling out a new competitive bidding program that it says will reduce the costs of certain medical equipment by 30 percent or more.
  • Yet what would seem to be a classic, all-American way to deal with pricing – through competition – and with happy winners – taxpayers and Medicare recipients -- turns out not to be that simple. We dive into the debate over the program.

Stories

Agency gets word out on Medicare's new competitive bidding program to ease seniors' concerns

Among those spreading the word about Medicare's new competitive bidding program is the Riverside-based nonprofit Inland Agency.

Area congressional delegation weighs in on Medicare plan

Medicare's attempt to control costs by choosing its medical equipment vendors through competitive bidding has come under criticism by some Inland Empire members of Congress.

Cost cuts in Medicare raise ire

The Inland Empire is about to become a national testing ground for whether the federal government, and health consumers, can finally do something about rising health costs.

Quest for low prices in Medicare alarms suppliers

YUCCA VALLEY - In the new age of Medicare, Esta Willman would seem like a winner. The small medical supply firm she co-owns with her husband just won two prized contracts to provide oxygen and power wheelchairs to Inland Empire seniors.

Seniors still wary of new Medicare program

Rancho Cucamonga resident Lois Mitchell says she knows virtually nothing about a new Medicare program that could save her money on expensive medical supplies for her mother.

Medicare Contact Information

Looking for more information? Medicare can be contacted at 1-800-MEDICARE or online at www.medicare.gov

Medicare announces winning suppliers

Signaling a massive effort to cut Medicare costs, Medicare officials on Wednesday issued the names of nearly 70 companies selected to provide medical equipment throughout the Inland Empire.

Authors

Deborah Schoch

Deborah Schoch

Senior writer Deborah Schoch reports on hospitals and health care delivery, nursing homes, environmental health and food. Her most recent articles have examined patient safety andhospital infections. She was a founding writer with the Center’s pilot project. Schoch spent 18 years as a staff writer at the Los Angeles Times, covering public health and the environment. She was a member of the Times newsroom teams that won Pulitzer Prizes for breaking news in 1992 and 1994. Schoch graduated from Cornell University and was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 1999-2000, studying science, law and policy. Her work at the Center has won several honors, including first place in the 2010 Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism, from the Association of Health Care Journalists. She sits on the AHCJ board’s Right-to-Know Committee, which works to improve access to public health records.

Project Partners

© 2018 Center for Health Reporting

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