Feb 8, 2018

Senate budget deal cuts down Medicare Advantage gifts

The budget bill cut out a big Medicare provision. Photo: Mandel Ngan / AFP via Getty Images

The Senate's version of the government spending bill cuts down on special measures for the Medicare Advantage industry. The bill keeps the House's telehealth and chronic care benefits, but it does not include a gift that would have saved the lowest-quality Medicare Advantage plans for another decade.

That's not all: The bill also prevents Medicare insurers from inflating their quality scores after they consolidate poor-performing contracts into higher-performing ones, a ploy insurers have used to gain more bonus money based on the program's star-rating system. The Congressional Budget Office says that measure would save $520 million over the next 10 years.

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The Americans who can't hide from coronavirus

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The stock markets are in bad shape, but for the millions of Americans who aren’t invested in stocks, coronavirus is presenting a far more imminent concern.

Why it matters: Quarantines usually work with at least 90% participation, but many Americans lack the flexibility to work remotely, take a sick day or absorb having schools close.

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Wall Street notches worst week for stocks since 2008

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photo: Scott Heins/Getty Images

Stocks closed down about 1% on Friday, ending the worst week for Wall Street since the financial crisis.

Why it matters: The stretch of declines came after a spike in coronavirus cases around the world earlier this week. The steep losses prompted questions about the fate of the record-long economic expansion, as well as a rare statement from the Federal Reserve.

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