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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Paging the HHS Secretary

KHN Original

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra is drawing criticism for his hands-off handling of the covid crisis even though the heads of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, and FDA report to him. Meanwhile, the Department of Labor looks to enforce mental health “parity laws” that have failed to achieve their goals. Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, and Rachel Cohrs of Stat join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews KHN’s Noam N. Levey, who reported and wrote the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” episode about a large emergency room bill for a small amount of medical care.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Dealing With Drug Prices

KHN Original

Medicare officials tentatively plan to restrict the use of a controversial Alzheimer’s drug to only those patients participating in clinical trials, while the Department of Health and Human Services looks into lowering the monthly Medicare Part B premium. Meanwhile, covid confusion still reigns, as the Biden administration moves, belatedly, to make more masks and tests available. Joanne Kenen of Politico and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet and Rachel Cohrs of Stat join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Oh, Oh, Omicron

KHN Original

Even before the omicron variant of covid starts to spread widely in the U.S., hospitals are filling up with post-holiday delta cases. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court signals — loudly — that 2022 will be the year it rolls back abortion rights in a big way. Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico and Mary Ellen McIntire of CQ Roll Call join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The Big Biden Budget Bill Passes the House

KHN Original

President Joe Biden’s social spending budget is on its way to the U.S. Senate, where Democratic leaders are (optimistically) hoping to complete work by the end of the year. Meanwhile, covid is surging again in parts of the country, along with the political divides it continues to cause. Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, Joanne Kenen of Politico and the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, and Mary Agnes Carey of KHN join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner previews next week’s Supreme Court abortion oral arguments with Florida State University law professor Mary Ziegler.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Boosting Confusion

KHN Original

Federal health officials appear poised to extend a recommendation for covid boosters to all adults, following moves by some governors and mayors to broaden the eligible booster pool as caseloads rise. Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration finally has a nominee to head the agency: former FDA chief Robert Califf. And Medicare premiums for consumers will likely rise substantially in 2022, partly due to the approval of a controversial drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease. Tami Luhby of CNN, Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet and Rachel Cohrs of Stat join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews Dan Weissmann, host of the “An Arm and a Leg” podcast.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Biden Social-Spending ‘Framework’ Pulls Back on Key Health Pledges

KHN Original

President Joe Biden unveiled a compromise “Build Back Better” framework shortly before taking off for key meetings in Europe, but it’s unclear whether the framework can win the votes of all Democrats in the House and Senate, and it leaves out some of the party’s health priorities, notably significant provisions to lower prescription drug prices. Meanwhile, younger children may soon be eligible for covid vaccines. Joanne Kenen of Politico and Johns Hopkins, Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet and Rachana Pradhan of KHN join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Dems Agree to Agree, But Not on What to Agree On

KHN Original

Negotiations on the health parts of President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda are getting serious but have yet to produce a deal every Democrat can support. Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration remains without a nominated leader but manages to take the first steps toward approving over-the-counter hearing aids. Joanne Kenen of Politico and Johns Hopkins, Tami Luhby of CNN and Rachel Cohrs of Stat 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?’: The Politics of Vaccine Mandates

KHN Original

Like almost everything else associated with the covid-19 pandemic, partisans are taking sides over whether vaccines should be mandated. Meanwhile, Democrats on Capitol Hill are still struggling to find compromise in their effort to expand health insurance and other social programs. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Jen Haberkorn of the Los Angeles Times and Mary Ellen McIntire of CQ Roll Call join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews best-selling author Beth Macy about her book “Dopesick,” and the new Hulu miniseries based on it.