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.

Obama Says Health Care Overhaul Must Be Enacted This Year

President Obama said that he wants an overhaul of the nation's health care system completed by the end of the year, calling it a "fiscal imperative" vital to restoring the economy.

Obama Nominates Sebelius to Health and Human Services

President Obama's cabinet, and his team to push health care reform, took one step closer to completion when he officially nominated Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as secretary of Health and Human Services.

Obama Appoints Savvy Insider to Key White House Health Post

In appointing Nancy-Ann DeParle to head his Office for Health Reform, President Obama is getting a consummate health policy insider who knows not only key federal health programs, lawmakers, health aides, health policy wonks, reporters, and the budget process but also the health industry.

MedPAC Backs MA Cuts Relating to Coding Behavior

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission is backing a proposal by Medicare officials to trim payments to private health plans to adjust for the way they assign "risk scores" used to vary reimbursement based on how sick an enrollee is. The lobby that represents the plans says that the proposal goes too far, and would have the effect of lowering rates 3.74 percent below what they otherwise would be.

Waxman Predicts Panel Will Okay Overhaul by August

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., said Tuesday that he expects the panel to approve health overhaul legislation before the August recess and that he would meet later in the day with the chairmen of two other key committees to coordinate efforts

Democratic Leaders Discussing Budget Reconciliation Option

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said that House and Senate Democratic leaders are discussing whether to use the filibuster-proof budget reconciliation process to move major elements of President Obama's agenda this year.