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.

Administration Denies New York's Request to Expand SCHIP Coverage

The Bush administration rejected a request by the state of New York to expand subsidized children's health insurance to middle-income families, further inflaming a fight with Congress over the program. New York requested permission from the government in April to expand its State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to cover children from families earning up to four times the poverty level, or $82,600 for a family of four--the largest proposed expansion to date.

Democrats Look Outside Traditional Conference Process to Move SCHIP Bill

Leading House Democrats said that they will negotiate compromise children's health insurance legislation informally with their Senate counterparts if Senate Republicans continue to block a formal conference committee on the bill.

Fall Agenda: Medicare Drug Program Revisions

With a presidential veto threat and other health-related legislative priorities filling the legislative calendar, Congress is not likely to clear a bill this year that would give the government power to negotiate Medicare drug prices.

Report Finds Different Payment Rates for Medicare Private Fee-for-Service Plans

Low-income people enrolled in Medicare private fee-for-service plans and living in poorer counties pay more for their health care than those enrolled in the same plans in neighboring, more affluent areas, according to a new study from the Medicare Rights Center.

Survey Says Doctors Will Trim Staff If Medicare Payments Are Cut

Reductions in Medicare physician payment rates would not only restrict beneficiaries' access to physician services but will also cause staffing reductions in doctors' offices, according to a new survey from the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA).

There's Still Time for Drug Payment Legislation, but It's Not on the Schedule

Supporters of legislation that would speed up insurer payments to pharmacies under Medicare's new drug benefit are hoping to pass their bill by Thanksgiving. But so far, House leaders haven't placed the popular measure (HR 1474), which has 199 cosponsors, on the fall schedule.