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.

Advisers for Top Presidential Candidates Discuss Health Care

On the eve of the Feb. 5 "Super Tuesday" primaries, health policy advisers for three of the top presidential candidates met in Washington to explain to other health experts why their candidate has the best plan to overhaul America's health care system.

Can Traditional Medicare Improve Care of the Chronically Ill?

Many politicians and policy analysts see better management of chronically ill patients as key to controlling spending in Medicare and other health care programs. However, critics of traditional Medicare argue that care is too disorganized in the program to allow for more effective treatment of diabetes, chronic heart failure and other chronic conditions. Medicare is conducting various pilot programs testing approaches that might prove those critics wrong--but the largest of those programs isn't going well, according to documents recently posted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on its Web site.

CBO Report: Technological Advances Responsible for High Health Care Spending

A new report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has identified rapid technological advances as the single biggest factor in the substantial rise in health care spending in the United States.

CMS Eyes Bigger Payoff from Medicare's Quality Improvement Organizations

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said it will have its 53 quality improvement organizations concentrate more of their efforts on nursing homes and hospitals that offer the best opportunity for quality improvement. The agency announced the sharpened focus as part of a new set of "QIO" responsibilities that responds to criticism by the Institute of Medicine and the Senate Finance Committee that the organizations need tighter management and structural changes.

Medicaid Reg Moratorium, More FMAP Funds May Fuel New SCHIP Push

House Democrats may combine more Medicaid funding for states and a moratorium on administration-imposed Medicaid regulations with legislation to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), a House Democratic leadership aide said.

Senate Democrats Assail Bush's Proposed Health Program Budgets

Senate Finance Democrats assailed the health proposals in President Bush's fiscal 2009 budget request, directing their ire at the treatment of private Medicare plans and children's health funding.