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.

Exploding Enrollment in Fee-For-Service Plans Causes Concerns

The escalating enrollment in private Medicare fee-for-service plans reflects their popularity, but their cost is becoming a concern for Democratic lawmakers.

Proposal: "Early Medicare" Program Would Provide Federal Health Care to Uninsured

Using Medicare as a model to cover all uninsured adults is not the way to address the health care gap in the United States, said Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., during a panel discussion of a new proposal that would mirror the federal program to cover those without health insurance. The proposal, authored by the Commonwealth Fund, would establish a new program modeled after Medicare called Medicare Extra. Advocates say the federally administered program would improve coverage and access to care while lowering costs, and could yield a health system savings of $1.6 trillion over 10 years.

Report: Quality of Care States Provide Varies Significantly

A recent Commonwealth Fund report shows wide disparities in individual states' ability to provide affordable, quality health care to children, highlighting what some consider the inadequacy of new standards for funding the State Children's Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP.

Senate to Take Up Baucus Medicare Bill; Grassley Prepares Alternative

Democrats will likely bring their long-awaited Medicare bill to the Senate floor, but observers of previous dramas involving physician payment legislation are predicting a familiar dance of veto threats and eventual compromise with Republicans and the White House.

Study Finds Mass Health Law Reduces Uninsured by Half

A year after Massachusetts launched its health coverage plan, the number of uninsured adults fell by almost half, from 13 percent to 7.1 percent, according to a new study published in the journal Health Affairs.

Taiwan: Surprising Lessons from a Small Island

In the middle of May, two Taiwanese officials, Hou Sheng-Mou and Michael S. Chen, came to Washington facing a tough assignment: promote single-payer health care in a city where it's widely regarded as a non-starter in the debate over revamping the U.S. system.