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.

Budget Would Fund Two-Year Doc Fix by Targeting Waste, Drug Payments

The centerpiece of the Obama administration's fiscal 2012 budget proposal is the prevention of Medicare payment cuts to physicians, and it proposes an increase in funding for the National Institutes of Health by $745 million at a time when Republicans want to slash federal programs across the board.

Few States Have Filed MLR Waiver Requests

Judging from the small number of states that have filed requests for waivers from the controversial medical loss ratio regulation issued under the health care law, one might think the rule won't disrupt insurance markets as much as some analysts have predicted.

Medicare Fraud Fight Would Be Harmed by House GOP Cuts, CMS Says

Medicare and Medicaid's top fraud buster told a Senate panel that cuts in current year spending proposed by House Republicans would imperil the government's ability to reduce fraud, waste, and abuse in the public health programs.

Following Arizona: Medicaid Waiver Expirations Could Bring Added Coverage Losses

Analysts say a number of states might have the right to pull the plug on some Medicaid coverage to cope with budget woes, after the Department of Health and Human Services clarified this week that Arizona could drop 250,000 childless adults from its rolls.

Institute: PCORI Must Seize Leading Role in Spreading Findings on What Works in Medicine

A "thoughtful and aggressive" policy to turn research findings into improved medical treatment will be critical if the nation is going to get better value for its health care dollar, according to a new paper from a broad array of health system stakeholders. And the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI)—created by the health care law to oversee "comparative effectiveness research"—should become a "highly visible champion" for disseminating that research, says the paper from NEHI, formerly the New England Healthcare Institute.

'Exchange Innovator' States Get $241 Million in Grants

Seven states that Department of Health and Human Services officials say are leading the way in designing the information technology needed to run the health insurance exchanges created by the health overhaul law will share $241 million in "early innovator" grants.