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Medicare Fraud Compet_Live.jpg

Medicare deputy administrator Jonathan Blum (Associated Press/Department of Health and Human Services)

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GOP Budget_Reps.jpg

** FILE ** Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, introduces a plan on Tuesday, March 20, 2012, to overhaul Medicare. The proposal would have the federal program competing with private plans. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

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Healthcare Fraud Sche_Lea.jpg

Daniel R. Levinson, inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (center), along with HHS Deputy Secretary Bill Corr and U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldana, speaks about federal charges in what the officials called the largest case of Medicare fraud in U.S. history. (AP Photo/L.M. Otero)

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Sen. Thomas R. Carper, Delaware Democrat, is disappointed with the new $77 million computer system to detect Medicare fraud before money is paid out. (Associated Press)

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A conference committee of senators and congressmen — including Sen. Ben Cardin, left, Maryland Democrat; Sen. Max Baucus, Montana Democrat; Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican; and Sen. Mike Crapo, Idaho Republican — meet Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012, in the House Visitors Center in Washington, D.C., to discuss resolving the differences on payroll tax relief, unemployment insurance, Medicare physicians payment fix and other items. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

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House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, has developed a proposal with Sen. Ron Wyden, Oregon Democrat, that would keep traditional Medicare as an option, competing with private plans. People now 55 or older wouldn't have to make any changes. (Associated Press)

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House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, has teamed with Sen. Ron Wyden, Oregon Democrat, to offer offering seniors a choice between private plans and a traditional Medicare plan. (Associated Press)

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Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, the top Republican budget writer in the House, has a new plan for Medicare - devised with Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon - that would set up a regulated competition with private insurance. (Associated Press)

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20111027-211424-pic-124145751.jpg

"We are excited about being able to offer people better Medicare at less cost. That just makes sense," said Dr. Donald M. Berwick, administrator for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. (Associated Press)

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HEALTH.jpg

** FILE ** In this June 13, 2011, file photo Dena Robinson, from right, and Hannah Hoffman, join dozens of Medicare advocates gathered outside the Newseum in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

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Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius called the charging of 91 people with participating in Medicare fraud schemes "a powerful warning to those who would try to defraud taxpayers and Medicare beneficiaries." (Associated Press)

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20110728-051907-pic-156484444.jpg

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Utah Republican, said of a new Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services report, "Simply put, this report states the obvious, that Americans have known for more than a year - the $2.6 trillion law only makes the fundamental problem of skyrocketing health care costs worse." (Associated Press)

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B1-WOLF-AH.jpg

Illustration: Obamacare wrecks Medicare by Alexander Hunter for The Washington Times

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Retirement Insecurity_Reps.jpg

Nicholas Read poses for a photo at the University at Buffalo South Campus where he once taught as a graduate assistant in Buffalo, N.Y., Thursday, May 19, 2011. Most Americans say they don't believe Medicare has to be cut to balance the federal budget, and ditto for Social Security. "I’m pretty confident Medicare will be there, because there would be a rebellion among voters," said Read. (AP Photo/David Duprey)

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B1-medicare-AH.jpg

Illustration: Medicare by Alexander Hunter for The Washington Times

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B4-Medicare-Twister-GG-WEB.jpg

Illustration: Medicare twister by Greg Groesch for The Washington Times

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"Medicare will be a part of any agreement to begin to reduce our long-term debt," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said Sunday. (Associated Press)

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In this undated photo provided by Dendreon Corp., an employee works on the company's prostate cancer drug Provenge at a plant in Morris Plains, N.J. Medicare officials said Wednesday, March 30, 2011 that the program will pay the $93,000 cost of the drug, an innovative therapy that typically gives men suffering from the disease an extra four months to live. (AP Photo/Dendreon Corp.) NO SALES

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House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, said Sunday he fears Senate Democrats won't acknowledge "real problems" with entitlements, such as Medicare and Social Security. (Associated Press)

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Dr. Donald Berwick, whom President Obama appointed as head of Medicare and Medicaid without Senate hearings, now needs Senate approval. (Associated Press)