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Latest Kaiser Health News Stories

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Delta Changes the Covid Conversation

KHN Original

With covid cases on the upswing again around the country, partisan division remains over how to address the pandemic. Meanwhile, the Biden administration proposes bigger penalties for hospitals that fail to make their prices public as required. Stephanie Armour of The Wall Street Journal, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico and Tami Luhby of CNN join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also, for “extra credit,” the panelists suggest their favorite stories of the week they think you should read, too.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Here Comes Reconciliation

KHN Original

Democrats in Congress reached a tentative agreement to press ahead on a partisan bill that would dramatically expand health benefits for people on Medicare, those who buy their own insurance and individuals who have been shut out of coverage in states that didn’t expand Medicaid. Meanwhile, controversy continues to rage over whether vaccinated Americans will need a booster to protect against covid-19 variants, and who will pay for a new drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease. Rachel Cohrs of Stat and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also, Rovner interviews KHN’s Rae Ellen Bichell, who reported and wrote the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” episode about a mother and daughter who fought an enormous emergency room bill.

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra

As Congress Wrestles With Plans to Expand Medicare, Becerra Says Any One Will Do

KHN Original

In an interview for KHN’s “What the Health?” podcast, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra says the administration is eager for Congress to make changes to Medicare that will provide more benefits and make more older adults eligible for the program. He also said a priority will be making permanent the enhanced premium subsidies for Affordable Care Act marketplace plans.

Drugmakers’ Spending on Stock, Dividends and Executive Pay Exceeds Research, Democrats Say

KHN Original

The pharmaceutical industry argues that large profits are needed to fund extensive research and innovation. But Democrats on the House Oversight and Reform Committee, seeking to bolster their effort to let Medicare negotiate drug prices, say major drug companies plow more of their billions in earnings back into propping up their stock and enriching executives and shareholders.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Un-Trumping the ACA

KHN Original

The Biden administration is moving to undo many of the changes the Trump administration made to the enrollment process for the Affordable Care Act to encourage more people to sign up for health insurance. Meanwhile, Congress is opening investigations into the controversial approval by the Food and Drug Administration of an expensive drug that might (or might not) slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Kimberly Leonard of Insider and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also, Rovner interviews Marshall Allen of ProPublica about his new book, “Never Pay the First Bill: And Other Ways to Fight the Health Care System and Win.”

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: How to Expand Health Coverage

KHN Original

Democrats in Congress and the states are devising strategies to expand health coverage — through the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, Medicaid and a “public option.” But progress remains halting, at best. Meanwhile, lawmakers in Washington may have to agree on how to control prescription drug prices if they wish to finance their coverage initiatives. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Tami Luhby of CNN and Shefali Luthra of The 19th join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also, Rovner interviews Michelle Andrews, who reported and wrote last month’s KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” episode about a very expensive sleep study.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The ACA Lives

KHN Original

In a surprisingly strong 7-2 decision, the Supreme Court turned back the latest constitutional challenge to the Affordable Care Act, likely heralding the end of GOP efforts to strike the law in its entirety through court action. Meanwhile, Democratic lawmakers are looking for ways to expand health benefits. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Mary Ellen McIntire of CQ Roll Call and Rachel Cohrs of Stat join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also, Rovner interviews Andy Slavitt, who recently stepped down from the Biden administration’s covid response team, about his new book on the pandemic.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The Drug Price Dilemma

KHN Original

Republicans, Democrats and the public at large agree that prices for prescription drugs are too high. But no one seems to know how to fix it. Vanderbilt University drug price researcher Stacie Dusetzina explains the basics of why drugs cost so much and why it’s hard to do something about it. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet and Anna Edney of Bloomberg News join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss the prospects for policy changes.

Chiquita Brooks-LaSure testifies before Congress

Expanding Insurance Coverage Is Top Priority for New Medicare-Medicaid Chief

KHN Original

Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, the new head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said the administration will focus on getting more people insured and is interested in finding a way to alleviate the gap keeping low-income families in states that haven’t expanded Medicaid from enrolling in Affordable Care Act health plans.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The Return of the Public Option

KHN Original

Lawmakers are working on fleshing out the concept of a “public option,” a government-run or heavily regulated insurance plan that would compete with private insurance. But the details are complicated, both substantively and politically. Meanwhile, bioethicists are debating whether the U.S. should be vaccinating low-risk adolescents against covid-19 while high-risk adults in other countries are still waiting. Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico and Rachana Pradhan of KHN 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.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Roe v. Wade on the Ropes

KHN Original

The newly conservative Supreme Court will hear a case that could overturn the nationwide right to abortion and cause political upheaval. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s abrupt announcement that vaccinated people can take off their masks in most places has caused upheaval of its own. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet and Mary Ellen McIntire of CQ Roll Call 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.

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.