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.

Obama's Support for Health Law Change Could Force States' Hands

President Obama's support for legislation that would let states opt out of the health law earlier than planned does not mean he is willing to compromise on the goal of making sure millions more Americans get health insurance, administration aides say. If such a measure passed, the nation’s governors would still be forced to deliver on the law's goals.

Vinson Gives Health Care Law a Reprieve but Demands More Federal Action

Implementation of the health care law will move forward following an order by a federal district court member in Florida, but a clearly impatient Judge Roger Vinson also ordered the government to move more quickly toward a definitive decision by the Supreme Court on the law's constitutionality.

Medicaid Expansion Leaves States Asking for Creative Ways to Stretch

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer wants to freeze the enrollment of childless adults in Medicaid. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett has dropped more than 40,000 adults from the state–federal program. The two are among Republican governors demanding Congress give them more flexibility to make changes under the health care program for the poor.

First Steps on Comparative Effectiveness Grants Expected Next Week

The new nonprofit institute that will provide federal funds for comparative effectiveness research may be ready to move forward on some grant awards after a two-day meeting that starts today in St. Louis.

Early Retiree Insurance Subsidies Reach 5,000 Employers

More than 5,000 employers have kept 61,000 retirees on their health insurance plans as a result of the subsidies they've gotten from the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program, created by the health law as a bridge to 2014 when the health exchanges will give them easier and more affordable access to insurance.

Central Line Infections in ICUs Down But Progress Needed Elsewhere
Collaborations between hospitals and public health officials at all levels have led to a sharp decline in the number of bloodstream infections in intensive care unit patients with central lines. Such efforts now need to be expanded to include patients who get care in other settings, say officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, commenting on the release of a new Vital Signs report.