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.

Bush Veto of Children's Health Bill Sets Stage for Political Confrontation

President Bush vetoed legislation to expand a children's health insurance program, drawing immediate fire from congressional Democrats and setting up an override showdown that could be politically perilous for some Republicans.

CMS Announces Medicare Premium Increases for 2008

Medicare beneficiaries will pay more for their hospital and outpatient services in 2008, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced. The deductible for Part A, which covers hospital inpatient services, will be $1,024 in 2008, a $32 increase from the $992 deductible in 2007.

CMS Posts Reams of Data on Private Plan Violations

Acting Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Kerry Weems made good this week on his promise to publicly post the names of private plans in Medicare that violate agency rules governing marketing, drug coverage, appeals, and other aspects of plan operations.

Many Uninsured without Coverage for at Least Four Years

About 17 million uninsured Americans have gone without coverage for at least four years, according to an analysis released by the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality.

Project Combines Medicare, Private Insurer Data to Measure Physician Quality

Health policy leaders announced a watershed development in the effort to compare how doctors stack up against each other—a new program that combines Medicare claims data with commercial health insurers to give a more complete and accurate picture of the quality and cost of care that doctors deliver.

Seniors Pay a High Premium for Loyalty to Their Part D Plans

Consumers who stay in their current Medicare prescription drug plans will see on average a 21 percent increase in their monthly premiums next year, according to an analysis released by the firm Avalere Health.

Sharp Spike Seen in '08 in Private Fee-for-Service Plans

An analysis of private plans to be offered next year in Medicare shows a big increase in the number of private fee-for-service plans and "special needs plans," two types of plans in the Medicare Advantage program facing skepticism and scrutiny from Congress. But the fast-growing popularity of the plans could complicate efforts by lawmakers to trim their reimbursement.