A Look at the Medicare Advantage Risk Adjustment Model

Date: March 9th, 2016

Medicare Advantage plans, also called “MA Plans” or “Part C,” are private insurance plans regulated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), covering Part A (hospital insurance) and B (outpatient services) of traditional Medicare. MA Plans differ from traditional Medicare in two important ways. Foremost, MA Plan payments are fixed, while traditional Medicare is fee-for-service (FFS). These fixed payments incentivize physicians to focus on more preventative and early-stage services because it is cheaper to keep patients healthy and provide

New Video Demonstrates Why Research Matters

Date: December 6th, 2015

In September the Alliance debuted a new video on the impact of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) at the Rally for Medical Research in Washington, D.C.   It features real people and their family caregivers whose lives were impacted by NIH research. This included people who were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, heart failure, cancer, stroke, dysautonomia, and hydrocephalus. Some of these diseases may be familiar to you, while others may not. No matter what, conditions like these impact your friends, family, and colleagues every day. Without

America’s Ark for the Silver Tsunami: The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

Date: August 5th, 2015

The United States spends nearly 18 percent of its GDP on health care. With the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population comprised of those 80 and older, and many of these Americans aging with between three and five chronic conditions, finding new ways to get the most out of every health care dollar is essential to our nation’s long-term fiscal health. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is the federal agency whose sole purpose is to improve the health

White Paper Lays Out Case for Increased Vaccination in Older Adults

Date: August 4th, 2015

As we recognize National Immunization Awareness Month in August, the Alliance has released a groundbreaking new paper titled Our Best Shot: Expanding Prevention through Vaccination in Older Adults. Vaccinations are considered an essential component of our health system, protecting us from diseases such as influenza, chickenpox, and measles. Getting their kids vaccinated is a routine part of life for most parents, and increasing vaccination rates in children remains an area of high importance among medical experts and organizations. However, there is another demographic where vaccinations serve an important

Turning the Lights on Superbugs

Date: November 24th, 2014

Healthcare-associated infections (HAI) are deadly. Some estimate that these infections kill up to 70,000 people each year. They are also expensive. HAIs cost the U.S. healthcare system as much as $33 billion annually. Earlier this fall, with support from Cubist, the Alliance for Aging Research brought together an amazing group of leaders from the fields of aging, infectious disease, health care and government to discuss the disproportionate impact of healthcare-associated infections (HAI) on older adults and the need for an improved

The Graying of the Population: Silver Tsunami or Silver Lining?

Date: July 16th, 2014

A major initiative of the Alliance for Aging Research is to increase the amount of federal funding to support research that extends a person’s healthy years of life. We see this as one of the most effective strategies to reduce the lengthy, painful period of disease and disability many people face as they grow older. When the Alliance goes to Capitol Hill each year to make our case for increasing the budget for dedicated research that may lead to interventions that

Geroscience: The Science of Aging

Date: October 10th, 2013

While the study of the science behind aging is not new, it has only recently become organized and recognized enough to warrant its own name—geroscience. Geroscience is a field that aims to understand the relationship between aging and age-related disease. Geroscientists and their supporters believe that this relationship is the key to finding new ways to prevent, slow, and cure the diseases that disproportionately impact us as we grow older. Scientists now generally agree that aging—and the disease and dysfunction

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure: Are We Sacrificing Health for a Balanced Budget?

Date: May 1st, 2012

Last summer, lawmakers were not just feeling the heat of the August sun in Washington when Congress passed the Budget Control Act of 2011(BCA). Under pressure to raise the country’s debt ceiling, the BCA allowed the president to do so by up to $2.8 trillion, but only by requiring the deficit to be slashed by $2.3 trillion over the next decade. Not a bad trade, right? Think again. The methods used to make these cuts could take a fat slice

Silver Scholars: Valuing Active Aging

Date: July 1st, 2011

We make decisions using economics every day. Deciding whether or not to spend money on something we usually find ourselves weighing the benefits against the costs. Should I buy an iPhone so I can check my e-mail on the train, or get the free phone and check when I get home? Should I buy the more expensive house that’s closer to work, or the one in a more affordable neighborhood with a longer commute? Should I hire someone to paint

Can We Work the Bugs Out? In Search of the Next-Generation IPAB

Date: July 1st, 2011

An IPAB is not the latest device created by Apple to play music or store your online files. IPAB is the Independent Payment Advisory Board and its purpose is to oversee costs in Medicare. The only similarity between IPAB and an iPAD is that both are small and complex units with tremendous power to change lives. But for those receiving their health care under the Medicare program, IPAB’s changes may not be for the better. The IPAB was part of the

Election 2008: Candidates Paying Too Little Attention to the Approaching Silver Tsunami

Date: October 1st, 2008

The 2008 presidential election is upon us and health care reform is at the top of both candidates’ agendas. Democratic Nominee Senator Barack Obama and Republican Nominee Senator John McCain have both offered detailed plans to fix our ailing health care system. While their plans have very little in common, they both offer solutions to lower skyrocketing health care costs and make health insurance more affordable for more people. Unfortunately, both plans pay too little attention to the approaching silver tsunami. The

Longevity in the Short-Term

Date: October 1st, 2005

At the Alliance for Aging Research, we are committed to a vision of healthy longevity for millions of Americans, made possible through advances in science and technology. We focus on research and initiatives that show promise for realization 10, 20, even 50 years from now. For many people, however, aging cannot wait 10 years because it is immediate and everyday. Even though Americans in the 21st century are already benefiting from scientific progress and living longer, healthier lives, growing older still

Stem Cell Debate

Date: July 1st, 2005

The following editorial is submitted by Daniel Perry, President of the Coalition for the Advancement for Medical Research (CAMR) President Bush will disagree, but the House of Representatives has handed him a gift for his second term: a chance to update his Administration’s stem cell policy in a way that would earn him bi-partisan praise for returning American scientists to the forefront of this fast-moving medical frontier. The recent House vote, which garnered a sizeable majority including 50 Republicans, expands the current

Every Vote Counts for Aging Issues

Date: October 1st, 2004

Americans' choice for president in 2004 will have a direct impact on the lives of seniors. The policies that surround this year's campaign issues will determine whether retirees can afford health care and have enough money to live on. They will shape how we are cared for in the future by funding - and providing guidelines for - research into defeating the diseases that shorten and degrade our lives. With so much at stake, this is no year to sit on

Leadership, Commitment, Hope: The 21st Century Challenge

Date: July 1st, 2004

The 20th century witnessed amazing advances in human health and longevity thanks to public health measures and medical research breakthroughs. The 20th century witnessed amazing advances in human health and longevity thanks to public health measures and medical research breakthroughs. Because of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the United States has led the world in reducing the impact of scores of diseases. The achievements of NIH are burnished by bipartisan political support and the unwavering faith that Americans place in

Stem Cell Update

Date: July 1st, 2004

Patient advocates for a variety of debilitating and deadly diseases are banding together to step up research into stem cell science, which may hold very real hope for treatments or cures. Frustrated by what they see as the federal government's insufficient funding of the research, these supporters are taking their cause to the states. Stem cells develop at the beginning of the embryonic stage and go on to create all the tissues that make up a human body. Because they can

Operation NIH Funding

Date: April 1st, 2003

The Washington Times Operation NIH Funding January 16, 2003  Section: OPED H. Norman Schwarzkopf, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES When you have brought the enemy to its knees, you do not turn tail and give up the fight. This axiom of military strategy appears to be lost on the nation's lawmakers, who stand poised to deprive medical researchers of the dollars they need to see their wars on disease through to the finish. Just as they deliver funds to protect the homeland in the name

Get Mad...And Vote!

Date: October 1st, 2002

Campaign commercials, local politician appearances, and issue rallies can only mean one thing…The election season is quickly approaching! The Alliance for Aging Research urges you to think about the political healthcare issues that will ultimately affect your health, form your opinions on these hot topic and vote! The Alliance sees the following issues as areas of social and scientific debate that will ultimately affect how we all age. We express our opinions below, but invite you to learn more about the

Medicare Gaps: What's Not Covered

Date: July 1st, 2002

Medicare, simply stated, is the government's contract that it will provide healthcare insurance coverage for older Americans. But as with all contracts, it pays to read the fine print. And that's when the jarring gaps begin to emerge. In Medicare's desperate attempt to cope with the initial high costs for all the newest medical and technological advances, many are suffering the affects of prevention and treatment denial. Consider mental health care, a significant concern among older Americans. Medicare requires patients to

Advances for the New Millennium

Date: February 1st, 2002

There is a fine line in medical research between hope and realism. Today's highly-hyped breakthrough could be tomorrow's bust. So it may seem premature to try to characterize any of the advances in research on aging since the turn of the 21st century as "bigger" or "brighter" than others. Only time will tell. However, in looking at the most promising research to have emerged in the infancy of the new millennium, there is significant progress in research, pharmaceuticals and medical technologies

20 Tips to Help Prevent Medical Errors from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Date: February 1st, 2002

Medical errors are one of the Nation's leading causes of death and injury. A recent report by the Institute of Medicine estimates that as many as 44,000 to 98,000 people die in U.S. hospitals each year as the result of medical errors. This means that more people die from medical errors than from motor vehicle accidents, breast cancer, or AIDS. Government agencies, purchasers of group health care, and health care providers are working together to make the U.S. health care system

Medicare Non-Coverage of New Oral Cancer Treatments: A Hard Pill to Swallow

Date: October 1st, 2001

Promising new drugs are revolutionizing the treatment of cancer. But as so often happens, the federal bureaucracy has yet to catch up with scientific advances. As a result, millions of Americans may be denied potentially life-saving cancer drugs. The reason? As bizarre as it sounds, it's because some of the new the cancer treatments are in the form of pills. That's right - pills that patients would swallow in the comfort and convenience of their own homes. Under current law, Medicare will

Cellular Therapies Hold Great Promise Despite Controversy

Date: October 1st, 2001

You have all followed the news and debate about stem cells. As a reader of Living Longer and Loving It! you know that the Alliance for Aging Research is urging more research into cellular therapies in hopes of defeating Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, diabetes, cancer and other dread diseases. In addition to embryonic stem cells, there are other cell-based technologies: fetal cells transplants and cloned stem cells created by a laboratory technique called "somatic cell nuclear transfer." This is when the genetic material is stripped

Embryonic Stem Cell Research to Save the Lives of Millions

Date: May 1st, 2001

In biological terms, embryonic stem cells have a virtually unlimited future. Given the right signals, these stem cells can be coaxed to grow into any specialized cells in the human body, from brain cells to heart muscle. The politics of abortion, unfortunately, has cast considerable doubt on their future as miracle cures. Federally funded research on embryonic stem cells has been put on hold while the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reviews the legal and ethical concerns raised by a vocal

Boosting the NIH Budget Will Better Our Lives

Date: May 1st, 2001

It doesn't happen often, but when it comes to boosting funding for medical research, Republicans and Democrats have found a subject on which they all can agree. This rare bipartisan agreement makes it all the more imperative that Congress accelerate its funding of research on diseases that affect older Americans. We need only look to the graying of America's population to see why this funding is so urgently needed. Americans over age 65 use about a third of the $1.2 trillion

A 15-Year Retrospective and Look Forward

Date: February 1st, 2001

Quantum Leap Forward in Science Leaves Us With Great Gains, Yet Still Much to Do Fifteen years ago, the study of human aging was largely an academic backwater: the field lacked sufficient funding, public support, and scientific prestige. Congress had created the National Institute on Aging (NIA) in the mid-1970s, but aging was one of the least funded and lowest priorities for federal medical research. Of the 11 federal health research institutes at the time, the aging institute ranked 10th in

Regenerative Medicine: Paving the Way for a Healthier Old Age

Date: July 1st, 2000

Over the next few decades, the new field of "regenerative medicine" promises to fundamentally alter the way diseases, especially those affected by the aging process, are approached and treated. Regenerative medicine involves research on ways to renew the body's tissues using natural signals, such as genes and proteins. According to William Haseltine, CEO and chair of Human Genome Sciences, Inc., the incredible strides that biomedical research has made over the past 30 years will be dwarfed by the coming regenerative

Taking Sides in the Great Longevity Debate

Date: July 1st, 2000

Critics of aging research are missing the point. Here is a sampling of what they are saying: A recent U.S. News & World Report article quoted Audrey Chapman, director of science and human rights at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as saying, "It is evil to focus energy on trying to live longer than 80 years when many poor people now don't live past 40." The Rev. Richard J. Neuhaus of the Institute of Religion and Public Life criticized what he called

People Who Need People: Clinical Trials

Date: May 1st, 2000

If Biomedical Science Is To Advance, Clinical Trials Researchers Need To Work With Human Subjects. Here's What You Need To Know About Participating In A Trial. Choosing to participate in a medical research study is an important and very personal decision. By participating, you can make a tremendous contribution to your own health or the health of others. But you should be clear about what you're getting into - the benefits and the risks - before you agree to anything. What Is

Underfunding of Medical Research Threatens Your Future Health

Date: May 1st, 1999

Although medical research is a major avenue to healthy aging, it is seriously under-funded. The Clinton Administration's budget for next year includes only a 1.4 percent increase in the budget for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), America's premier federal agency for medical research. That represents the smallest increase in the NIH budget this decade. Yet this is happening when substantial funding increases are needed most. For consider these facts: Next year, one-eighth of the American population will be over 65. But

Take a Gene Tweak and Call Me in the Morning

Date: March 1st, 1999

Government genetic research may completely transform medicine You want cutting edge? Try this: in the health care world of tomorrow, simple blood tests accurately forecast a person's life long predisposition to disease. Doctors are able to custom fit medicines to a person's genes, eliminating the chances that drug treatments will prove dangerous or ineffective. It will also be possible to substitute healthy genes for defective ones, a procedure that spares people the horrible suffering and devastating expense of catastrophic illness. All of

Taking Aging (Or Not) On the Campaign Trail

Date: February 1st, 1999

The positions of Presidential candidates on improving health care runs from the disappointing to the downright scary. We haven't heard much from the Republicans. Democrats Al Gore and Bill Bradley both propose government-sponsored programs to cover more Americans -- but still not all -- who currently lack health insurance. The cost estimates of their proposals run as high as $1 trillion, enough to more than wipe out the national budget surplus. To finance such plans, Washington would have to ration health

From "Come On, Baby, Light My Fire," to "Come On, Baby, Go To Sleep"

Date: February 1st, 1999

Let's Be Grandparents On Our Own Terms By Dan Perry It doesn't seem possible that a guy who knows most of the lyrics of Jim Morrison and The Doors can wake up one day to find he is someone's grandfather. It may be jarring, but grandparenthood is the next happening thing for Baby Boomers. Trust me on this. When I first imagined my daughter giving birth, I was immediately grateful for medical advances. Modern obstetrics has made childbirth very safe. The percentage of women who