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.

Health Care Quality Gains Not Keeping Pace with Cost Increases

Improvements in health care quality are not keeping pace with the higher prices Americans have to pay for medical care, according to new data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Medicare "Trigger" Bill Doesn't See Whole Picture, Experts Say

Medicare "trigger" legislation that would place spending limits on the program to curb support from the general tax revenues does not look at the whole picture, health care experts said.

MedPAC Eyes Improvements in Nursing Facility, Primary Care Payments, Drug Plans

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission is considering several draft recommendations to Congress and the Medicare program regarding skilled nursing facility payments, the performance of prescription drug plans, and primary care.

MedPAC Eyes Single Payment for Doctor and Hospital Care

At a standing room only session, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission kicked around the idea of issuing single payments for episodes of treatment that would be shared by both the hospital and the doctors involved in delivering the treatment. While acknowledging that such a scheme could be complex to administer and could backfire, commissioners said such "bundled payment" has potential to root out inefficiencies in care and deliver major savings.

New Medicaid Rules Would Shift More Burden to States, Report Says

New rules for Medicaid would reduce federal payments to states by nearly $50 billion over five years--more than three times earlier government estimates, according to a report by a House committee.

Poll: Voters Want Quick Action on Uninsured

More than three-quarters of voters want the next president and Congress to take quick action to help the more than 47 million Americans without health care coverage get it, according to new polling data.