Washington Health Policy Week in Review

Washington Health Policy Week in Review is a weekly newsletter that offers selected stories from the daily newsletter CQ HealthBeat.

Health Experts Discuss Ways to Achieve Universal Health Coverage

Health care experts came together to unveil four different policy proposals aimed at the same goal: launching a universal health care coverage system in the United States. The authors agreed that universal health care is the next step in the health care debate. Among the principles of their policies, they said, is a focus on involving the lowest-income population who are uninsured.

House Panels Gear Up For SCHIP Action

As two key House committees aim to mark up children's health legislation the week of July 23, the American Medical Association and AARP have teamed up to sponsor a national advertising campaign supporting the measure.

Private Fee-for-Service Looms Large in Medicare Advantage Growth

Congressional Budget Office Director Peter R. Orszag reminded congressional aides that much of the growth in the Medicare Advantage program is projected to be in private fee-for-service plans--a reminder aides might find particularly noteworthy as Congress considers Medicare Advantage payment cuts because those plans don't coordinate care the way other Medicare's other private plans do.

Senate Panel Approves Renewal of Health Insurance for Children

The Senate Finance Committee approved a $60 billion children's health insurance bill, endorsing a bipartisan deal among the panel's members and defying a presidential veto threat. Bill supporters said the measure, approved 17-4, would expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program to cover nearly 10 million uninsured children. The reauthorization would cover children in households with incomes up to 300 percent of the federal poverty line.

Study: Medical Center Ups the Quality of Care, but May Have Lowered Revenues

Virginia Mason Medical Center, based in Seattle, recently improved the quality and cost-effectiveness of treatment for four conditions--uncomplicated lower back pain, migraines, gastroesophageal reflux disease and cardiac arrhythmias--but it may have reduced its revenues as a result, according to a recent study.

Study: Uninsured Experience Higher Health Costs Once Enrolled in Medicare

Uninsured adults ages 59 through 64 who suffer from hypertension, diabetes, heart disease or stroke had health costs that were 51 percent higher than their insured counterparts once they entered Medicare, according to a recent Commonwealth Fund report.