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 Out of Bounds in Curbing Children's Health Plan Enrollment, GAO Says

A new report by Congress's watchdog agency says the Bush administration overstepped its authority with a Aug. 17 letter meant to limit enrollment of children in the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

Bill to Block Cost-Cutting Medicaid Changes Advances Despite Veto Threat

A House panel's approval of a bill to block several cost-cutting administration Medicaid regulations has taken Congress one step closer to a veto showdown that Democrats might win.

From the CQ Newsroom: House Panel Starts to 'Lay the Groundwork' for Health Care Overhaul

Uninsured and under-insured people by the millions are racking up huge medical bills or forgoing life-saving care in a broken health system, health experts said at a hearing. The hearing, by the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, was intended to "lay the groundwork" for an expected attempt next year to overhaul the health insurance system, said panel Chairman Pete Stark, D-Calif.

High Deductible Plans--Poor Fit for the Uninsured?

The high-deductible plans sold in conjunction with health savings accounts charge relatively low premiums, prompting some Republicans to pitch them as a good solution for the uninsured. But a study released by the Kaiser Family Foundation says the uninsured often have too few assets to pay the costs of those high deductibles when illness strikes.

Medicare Tightens Link Between Hospital Payment and Quality

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced a proposed regulation that steps up demands on hospitals for data on the quality of their inpatient care and stiffens financial penalties for facilities found to be sloppy in their treatment practices.

Tax Bill Spurs Health Savings Account Battle

The House's routine April 15 tax bill (HR 5719) has become the setting for a fight over health savings accounts. Democrats, seeking a revenue-raising offset and pointing to HSA money spent at escort services and casinos, want to require individuals to prove that their tax-free withdrawals from the accounts are being used for medical purposes.