Latest Kaiser Health News Stories
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 is the special guest for this bonus episode of KHN’s “What the Health?” podcast. He and host Julie Rovner discuss a breadth of topics the secretary oversees, including covid-19, prescription drug prices, Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act.
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.
Aduhelm, approved by the Food and Drug Administration last month despite questions about its efficacy, could be prescribed to at least 1 million patients a year, for a price tag of about $56 billion. Experts suggest there might be better ways to spend that money.
Walden, en Colorado, ha sufrido el destino de muchos pueblos pequeños, ya que la economía ha dificultado la supervivencia de las farmacias comunitarias.
As more independently owned community pharmacies close, a Colorado town is crowdsourcing ways of getting prescription medicines delivered to those who can’t travel the long distance to the closest pharmacy. But even those stopgap measures don’t always work.
In an ongoing effort to control prescription drug costs, states are targeting the companies that mediate deals among drug manufacturers, health insurers and pharmacies. The pharmacy benefit managers say they negotiate lower prices for patients, yet the nitty-gritty occurs largely behind a curtain that lawmakers are trying to pull back.
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.
The federal approval of a controversial drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease has reignited the debate over drug prices and the way the Food and Drug Administration makes decisions. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden seeks to gain goodwill overseas as he announces the U.S. will provide 500 million doses of covid vaccine to international health efforts. Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times and Joanne Kenen of Politico join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also, Rovner interviews Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, the new administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. And to mark the podcast’s 200th episode, the panelists discuss what has surprised them most and least over the past four years.
Safety-net clinics especially are bracing for how the drugmaker’s policy shift could reduce their budgets and hamstring their ability to provide care to an at-risk population.
The agency is to decide by June 7 whether to greenlight Biogen’s drug aducanumab, despite a near-unanimous rejection of the product by an FDA advisory committee of outside experts in November. Some scientists at the agency have endorsed the drug, though.
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.
KHN and California Healthline staff made the rounds on national and local media this week to discuss their stories. Here’s a collection of their appearances.
Federal officials asked a court to dismiss a suit by drugmakers over the policy enacted by the Trump administration that would allow states to bring in cheaper prescription medications from Canada. The filing said the lawsuit was moot because it’s unclear when or if the FDA would approve any state’s importation plan.
Incapaz de fijar los precios o cambiar las protecciones de las patentes, el estado considera medidas legislativas y administrativas para reducir los gastos de bolsillo delos consumidores.
Colorado is one of many states resolved not to wait for federal action to reduce drug costs. Its legislature is considering several ways to lower costs for consumers and the state.
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.
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.
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 misguided federal program called the Unapproved Drugs Initiative, which put the FDA’s stamp of approval on old drugs, led to higher prices. It’s scrapped. So now what?