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.

Battle Lines Drawn for Budget Summit
As President Obama gets set to hold what is being called a "fiscal responsibility summit" on Feb. 23, battle lines are being drawn over how the new administration should address long-term budget challenges.
Report: Requiring Coverage, Changing Payments Would Lower Costs and Increase Coverage

A health system that includes an individual coverage mandate, a mix of public and private insurance and a shift away from the current fee-for-service system would slow U.S. health spending growth by $3 trillion and achieve nearly universal coverage by 2020, according to a report released  by The Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System.

Report: 14,000 Americans Losing Health Coverage Daily
The left-leaning Center for American Progress Action Fund released a report calling for health care overhaul to address increasing numbers of people losing insurance coverage and to stimulate the economy.

'Comparative Effectiveness' Research Sparks Concerns over Access to Health Care
It seems like medical common sense: In order to reduce health care costs and increase the quality of care, many lawmakers and health care experts say more research should be done to study which medicines, devices and procedures work best at treating different diseases. But a modest proposal to accelerate such "comparative effectiveness" research—signed into law last week by President Obama as part of the $787 billion spending bill intended to stimulate the economy—concerns some Republicans and health industry groups.
Report: States Making Strides in Overhauling Health Care Despite Weak Economy
Although no states in 2008 passed universal health coverage initiatives in the midst of a struggling economy, some states were able to enact laws that extended coverage for children and promoted cost and quality transparency, according to a BlueCross BlueShield Association (BCBSA) report released last week.

Entitlement Debate Heats Up As Fiscal Summit Approaches
With a debate rapidly approaching on how to control entitlement spending, liberal and conservative groups weighed in on the issue at separate events, with analysts on the left arguing that any crisis is being miscast and those on the right saying entitlements need to be more focused on lower-income Americans with the long-term costs involved more accurately depicted in the budget process.