Podcast: KHN’s ‘What The Health?’ Medicaid, Privacy And Tom Price’s Return

President Donald Trump’s former New York doctor says Trump’s lawyer and private head of security “raided” his office and took the medical files relating to Trump, an act described by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders as “standard operating procedure.” Except that’s not how the federal health privacy law is supposed to work.

Meanwhile, Seema Verma, who heads the federal agency in charge of Medicare and Medicaid, met with reporters for a wide-ranging discussion of states’ efforts to remake their Medicaid programs and the administration’s goals of encouraging people to work to help lift them out of poverty.

Plus, Robert Blendon, a professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and its T.H. Chan School of Public Health, talks about how health issues fit into the complex politics of the 2018 midterm elections.

This week’s panelists for KHN’s “What the Health?” are Julie Rovner of Kaiser Health News, Joanne Kenen of Politico, Alice Ollstein of Talking Points Memo and Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times.

Among the takeaways from this week’s podcast:

  • Five states are seeking permission from federal officials to impose a lifetime limit on Medicaid eligibility. But despite the many changes the Trump administration officials have been making to Medicaid, they have shown no public interest in this yet.
  • Trump is considering regulations that would defund Planned Parenthood from the Title X Family Planning Program. Although anti-abortion groups would applaud such a move, it could backfire on the Republicans in November by energizing a wave of blue voters in the midterm elections.
  • Although former HHS Secretary Tom Price raised eyebrows this week with his comment disparaging the removal of the penalty for not having insurance, that stance is somewhat consistent with the administration’s earlier promise to find new ways to regulate the insurance markets.

Plus, for “extra credit,” the panelists recommend their favorite health stories of the week they think you should read, too.

Julie Rovner: Kaiser Health News’ “Peak Health Plan Premiums Give Rise To Activism – And Unconventional Solutions,” by Rachel Bluth

Joanne Kenen: The New York Times’ “Injecting Drugs Can Ruin a Heart. How Many Second Chances Should a User Get?” by Abby Goodnough

Alice Ollstein: The Commonwealth Fund’s “First Look at Health Insurance Coverage in 2018 Finds ACA Gain Beginning to Reverse,” by Sara R. Collins, Munira Z. Gunja, Michelle M. Doty and Herman K. Bhupal

Margot Sanger-Katz: Politico’s “Who the Hell Is This Person? Trump’s Mar-A-Lago Pal Stymies VA Project,” by Arthur Allen

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Related Topics

Cost and Quality Health Care Costs Insurance Medicaid Multimedia States The Health Law Uninsured