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.

Private Plans Under Ryan Budget Plan Would Cost More Than Current Medicare

When House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan unveiled his budget proposal, he said it fulfills a "moral imperative" to lower Medicare-related costs. But it would actually drive up overall health expenses by requiring people to get care through private plans, which cost more than the current system, said the Congressional Budget Office. Seniors would essentially pick up the extra costs.

Commonwealth Fund Poll Finds Widespread Unhappiness with Health Care
U.S. adults surveyed in a Commonwealth Fund poll say they have problems with access to health care, including timely doctors' appointments, advice from physicians on the phone, or after-hours care outside an emergency room.
Mostashari Named Health IT Czar
Farzad Mostashari, who led an effort in New York City to foster the adoption of health information technology (IT) by primary care doctors serving low-income populations, has been named the new national coordinator for health IT. Mostashari succeeds David Blumenthal.
HHS Announces Plan to End Health Disparities

Public health officials recently rolled out an initiative aimed at improving the health of minorities and erasing disparities. The first-ever action plan was put together by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) following extended meetings and discussions with people in communities across the country.

MedPAC Commissioners on Cost of Ending Medicare's Doctor Payment Rate Formula: Write It Off?

The sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula—the mechanism used to set Medicare's yearly physician payment rates—must go, commissioner after commissioner said at a meeting of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC). And what about the $300 billion-plus cost over 10 years of getting rid of the SGR? "Write it off," declared commissioners Ronald D. Castellanos and Bruce C. Stuart.

CMS Releases Data on Medical Conditions Acquired in Hospitals

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) officials announced the release of data allowing consumers to learn how often patients in local hospitals acquire infections, develop bed sores, or are harmed by gas or air bubbles entering blood vessels.