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.

States May Opt for Small-Business Model for Essential Benefits, Commissioner Says

The Rhode Island insurance commissioner predicted last week that many states may opt to use existing small-business plans in their states as models for their essential benefits packages under the health care law.

Medicare Advantage Premiums Down, Enrollment Up

Medicare Advantage premiums have fallen 7 percent on average and enrollment in these managed care plans has gone up about 10 percent over the past year, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced last week.

HHS: Seniors in Medicare Doughnut Hole Saved $604 on Average in 2011

The Obama administration recently touted the success of the health care law when it comes to prescription drugs for Medicare beneficiaries, saying that seniors who hit the doughnut hole saved $604 on average in 2011 compared to what their costs would have been without the overhaul.

Telemedicine Supporters Launch New Effort for Doctor Licensing Across State Lines

Advocates of telemedicine said last week that they're mounting a new push to allow doctors to more easily practice medicine across state lines. And an aide to Sen. Tom Udall said the New Mexico Democrat is drafting legislation to create a national physician licensing system to operate in tandem with state boards.

Institute of Medicine Looks at 'Living Well' with Chronic Illness

A recent Institute of Medicine report on chronic illness warns that an epidemic of debilitating conditions is "steadily moving toward crisis proportions," but nobody's paying much attention. The rising tide of aging baby boomers will only make it worse, the report cautions.

Health IT Continues to Lag Despite Federal Investments

The slow pace at which health care providers are adopting health information technology (IT) could limit the availability of more efficient, cost-effective models of care, according to a recent study by the Bipartisan Policy Center.