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.

Supreme Court Leaves the Doors Open with Health Care Lawsuit Order
With its decision to hear arguments on the constitutionality of the health care overhaul, the U.S. Supreme Court swung open the door to a range of outcomes, any of which could have an enormous impact on federal policy—whether or not the law is left intact.
Health Insurance Premium Increases Compromise Family Incomes, Says Commonwealth Fund
Premiums for employer-based family health insurance rose 50 percent on average between 2003 and 2010, with employees paying a higher percentage of the costs, The Commonwealth Fund found in a recent report.
Premier Alliance Execs Say ACO Precursors Are Delivering Real Savings

It was tempting to completely discount assertions by Premier Alliance hospital executives at a news briefing last week that accountable care organizations (ACOs) and similar programs touted by federal officials are going to produce genuine savings and possibly begin slowly easing the nation's health cost crisis.

HHS Announces $1 Billion in Grants to Expand Workforce

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius recently did her bit to help President Obama's job-creation effort by announcing $1 billion in grants funded by the health care law that will help add health care workers across the country.

Can ACOs Deliver? NCQA Launches Program to Help Purchasers Decide

The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA)—an independent industry group that government and businesses rely on to better gauge the quality of health care—previewed a program that it intends to launch this week to accredit accountable care organizations (ACOs).

HHS: New Health Plan Details Available for Small Employers

As part of its efforts to increase the availability of consumer information on health insurance, local plan benefits and pricing details for small businesses are now available on the Web, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced.