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.

HHS: Up to 9 Million Could Get Premium Refunds Under Medical Payout Rule

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued its long-awaited regulations on medical payouts required under the health care law, a standard known as the medical loss ratio (MLR).

Democrats Seize Chance to Tout Health Care Law as Repeal Attempt Looms

President Obama and the congressional authors of the health care law praised a key rule the Department of Health and Human Services issued on implementing a standard for medical payouts by insurers. The industry was more guarded in its reaction.

'Accountable Care Organizations' Get a Cautious Nod of Approval from MedPAC

"Accountable care organizations"—given a boost under the health care law to spur greater teamwork among doctors and hospitals—have the potential to improve quality and contain costs in the traditional Medicare fee-for-service program, but they must be carefully structured to get the job done, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) said.

Hospital Collaborative Reports Saving Lives, Money

The Premier health care alliance, QUEST, a national collaborative of 157 hospitals working to improve quality and save money, reported that it has saved 22,164 lives and $2.13 billion over the first two years of the three-year project.

Health Law Provides $290 Million for Loan Repayment

The new health care law will provide $290 million this year for the National Health Service Corps loan repayment program, under which primary care medical, dental, and mental health professionals can get up to $60,000 to help pay their student loans if they work for two years in a medically underserved area.

Medicare Drug Plans Shifting Cost-Control Tactics, Study Says

More and more of the prescription drug plans competing in the Medicare program are experimenting with new cost-control methods, says a new study by the Washington, D.C., consulting firm, Avalere Health.