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.

Breaking Traditions: Medicare Innovations Tucked In Law Could Be a Tough Sell

Politicians have for years been caught in a political squeeze when it comes to Medicare. They are under increasing pressure to find a way to control rising costs of the program. But politically active seniors are the ones who scream the loudest when there is talk of cuts. But that doesn't mean innovative thinking about Medicare went completely by the wayside.

CMS 'Dashboard' May Spur New Studies on Costs and Use of Health Care Services

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has launched a new Web site offering researchers access to data on the cost and utilization of health care services around the United States.

Controlling Medicare Costs: New Board Will Wield Power, But Will Congress Go Along?

Proponents have called the creation of a new Medicare payment board one of the most promising cost control elements in the entire health care overhaul plan. That's because beginning in 2014, the 15-member panel of health care experts will have the authority to rein in long-term growth in Medicare spending that Congress could not easily block.

Expanded Medicaid Coverage Under Overhaul Law Needn't Wait 'Til 2014
While the health care overhaul law requires state Medicaid programs to expand their coverage in 2014 to include people with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty line, that doesn't mean states have to wait until then to begin expanding their programs.
Expanding Coverage: HHS Faces a Tight Timetable in Setting Up High-Risk Pools
From day one, President Obama and other proponents of a health care overhaul promised to help people with pre-existing health conditions who find it difficult, if not impossible, to get insurance coverage. So it is not surprising that providing such coverage is one of the first parts of the new law to take effect — and it's required to happen within the next three months.
HHS and Congress Face First Hurdles in Enacting the Overhaul
Nobody said that dramatic change in the nation's mammoth health care system would be a breeze, and federal officials are experiencing plenty of headaches in just the first weeks after the overhaul was signed into law by President Obama. But a new survey released by the Commonwealth Fund also found that most health care opinion leaders think that access to affordable insurance will be improved for the uninsured under the new law, and most of the 201 questioned support the law's key features.