Health Affairs has launched a new series of Health Policy Briefs, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. These free, online briefs aim to provide congressional staff and busy policy-watchers with quick, clear overviews of complex, front-burner issues in the health reform and policy debate.

The first 2 briefs look at Medicare reform. The first summarizes the current debate about cutting payments to “Medicare Advantage” plans — the privately run health plans that now serve a quarter of Medicare enrollees. The second brief explains the pros and cons of the Obama Administration’s proposal to save $177 billion through a new competitive bidding system.

Health Policy Briefs include competing arguments from various sides of a policy proposal and the relevant research supporting each perspective. The jargon-free information is reviewed by Health Affairs authors and expert reviewers. Color maps and charts help tell the policy story at a glance, and may be downloaded. You can sign up to receive an email alert or RSS feed about upcoming briefs.