Latest News On U.S. Congress

Latest Kaiser Health News Stories

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Drug Price Effort Hits a Snag

KHN Original

Democratic leaders in Congress have vowed to pass legislation to address high prescription drug prices this year, but some moderates in their own party appear to be balking. Meanwhile, younger teens are now eligible for a covid-19 vaccine and the Biden administration reinstated anti-discrimination policy for LGBTQ people in health care. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet and Rachel Cohrs of Stat join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more.

Democrats Disagree About How to Spend Potential Prescription Drug Windfall

KHN Original

After a year of uncharacteristically being on the same page when it comes to health care, Democratic lawmakers are at loggerheads about what to do next. Most agree the time is ripe to tackle high drug prices. But they divide over whether to take savings from that to move to a ‘Medicare for All’ insurance system, enhance the current Medicare program or strengthen benefits under the Affordable Care Act.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: 100 Days of Health Policy

KHN Original

It’s 100 days into Joe Biden’s presidency and a surprisingly large number of health policies have been announced. But health is notably absent from the administration’s $1.8 trillion spending plan for American families, making it unclear how much more will get done this year. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention loosens its mask-wearing recommendations for those who have been vaccinated, but the new rules are confusing. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Mary Ellen McIntire of CQ Roll Call and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Plus, Rovner interviews KHN’s Julie Appleby, who reported the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” episode.

A ‘Dose of Hope’? Fact-Checking President Joe Biden’s First Speech to Congress

KHN Original

In his first speech before a joint session of Congress, President Joe Biden argued it was time to turn the coronavirus pandemic into a historic opportunity to expand government for the benefit of a wider range of Americans, urging investments in jobs, climate change, child care, infrastructure and more.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Picking Up the Pace of Undoing Trump Policies

KHN Original

The Biden administration has started to speed efforts to reverse health policies forged under Donald Trump. Most recently, the administration overturned a ban on fetal tissue research and canceled a last-minute extension of a Medicaid waiver for Texas. That latter move may delay the Senate confirmation of President Joe Biden’s nominee to head the Medicare and Medicaid programs, as Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) seeks to fight back. Anna Edney of Bloomberg News, Rachel Cohrs of Stat and Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Plus, for extra credit, the panelists recommend their favorite health policy stories of the week they think you should read, too.

Public Health Experts Worry About Boom-Bust Cycle of Support

KHN Original

Congress has poured tens of billions of dollars into public health since last year. While health officials who have juggled bare-bones budgets for years are grateful for the money, they worry it will soon dry up, just as it has after previous crises such as 9/11, SARS and Ebola. Meanwhile, they continue to cope with an exodus from the field amid political pressure and exhaustion that meant 1 in 6 Americans lost their local health department leader.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Planning for Round Two

KHN Original

The ink is barely dry on the recent covid relief bill, but Democrats in Congress and President Joe Biden are wasting no time gearing up for their next big legislative package. Meanwhile, predictions of more states expanding Medicaid have proved premature. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Rachel Cohrs of Stat and Kimberly Leonard of Business Insider join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Plus, Rovner interviews KHN’s Lauren Weber, who reported the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” episode.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Getting Down to Work at HHS

KHN Original

After a bruising confirmation process, Xavier Becerra was sworn in as secretary of Health and Human Services this week. The Senate also confirmed the nominations of former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy to return to the post he held in the Obama administration, and former Pennsylvania health secretary Rachel Levine as assistant secretary for health. Levine is the first openly transgender person to receive Senate confirmation. Meanwhile, questions continue to swirl around the AstraZeneca covid vaccine, which some public health experts worry will create more hesitancy toward other vaccines.

Democrats Eye Medicare Negotiations to Lower Drug Prices

KHN Original

Progressive and conservative Democratic lawmakers, as well as President Joe Biden, are in favor of authorizing federal officials to negotiate with drugmakers over what Medicare pays for at least some of the most expensive brand-name drugs and to base those prices on the drugs’ clinical benefits. Such a measure could put Republicans in the uncomfortable position of opposing an idea that most voters from both parties generally support.