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.

Energy and Commerce Dems Said to Favor Exchange, Subsidies, Mandates

A summary of health overhaul provisions said to be favored by House Energy and Commerce Committee Democrats calls for the creation of a "National Health Exchange" initially open to all individuals without employer-sponsored health insurance and small businesses. The overhaul concept outlined by the summary would require individuals to carry health insurance and give them "affordability credits" to pay for it if they didn't qualify for Medicaid and their incomes were below four times the federal poverty level.

Finance Panel Package a Mix of Mandates, Subsidies, Public Plan Options

Senate Finance Committee leaders released detailed health coverage options requiring individuals to carry health insurance that in many cases would be purchased with government subsidies and employer contributions and obtained through a "Health Insurance Exchange" site on the Internet directing consumers to each coverage option in their zip code.

Hackbarth Stays at MedPAC as Chairman, Commission Gains Two New Members
Glenn M. Hackbarth has been reappointed to a new term as chairman of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), the head of the Government Accountability Office announced. The agency also announced that two new members have joined the commission and four more current members will stay for new terms.
Lobbies, White House, Try to Smooth Over Flap on Cost Cuts

Health industry leaders and the White House attempted to smooth over a misunderstanding about just what a coalition of health groups pledged at what was billed as a "historic" meeting at the White House.

Senate Finance Panel Ponders Toolkit for Tinkering with 'Exclusion'

Some of the leading thinkers in health care offered Senate Finance Committee members a range of options for taxing health insurance benefits, a potentially big pot of revenues for covering the uninsured in health overhaul legislation that may move through Congress later this year.

Trustees' Report Projects 2017 Insolvency of Medicare Hospital Fund

Trustees of the Medicare program announced that the fund that pays for hospital care will be exhausted in 2017, two years earlier than they projected a year ago. Correcting the fiscal imbalance will require "substantial changes" to funds coming in and going out of the fund, "even in the short-range alone," according to the trustees.