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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Washington’s Slow Churn

KHN Original

Stemming gun violence is back on the legislative agenda following three mass shootings in less than a month, but it’s hard to predict success when so many previous efforts have failed. Meanwhile, lawmakers must soon decide if they will extend current premium subsidies for those buying health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, and the Biden administration acts, belatedly, on Medicare premiums. Margot Sanger-Katz of the New York Times, Sandhya Raman of CQ Roll Call, and Rachel Cohrs of Stat News join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews KHN’s Michelle Andrews, who reported and wrote the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” episode about a too-common problem: denial of no-cost preventive care for a colonoscopy under the Affordable Care Act.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Record ACA Enrollment Puts Pressure on Congress

KHN Original

Temporary subsidies helped boost enrollment under the Affordable Care Act to a record 14.5 million, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. But unless Democrats in Congress extend those subsidies, many of those new enrollees will be in for a rude surprise just ahead of midterm elections. Meanwhile, the need to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer further crowds an already tight legislative schedule. Joanne Kenen of Politico and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet, and Anna Edney of Bloomberg News join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews Diana Greene Foster, author of “The Turnaway Study: Ten Years, a Thousand Women, and the Consequences of Having — Or Being Denied — An Abortion.”

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.

As Workers Struggle With Pandemic’s Impact, Employers Expand Mental Health Benefits

KHN Original

Many job-based health plans broadened their mental health and substance use coverage to make sure workers had the support they needed this year as pandemic stress lingered, the annual KFF survey finds. Also, the proportion of employers offering health insurance to their workers remained steady, and increases for premiums and out-of-pocket health expenses were moderate.

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.

What a Difference a Year Makes in Colorado’s Case for a Public Option Plan

KHN Original

Before the pandemic, Colorado was building momentum to pass what’s known as a “public option” health plan that would lower insurance premiums and force hospitals to accept lower payments. But now with hospitals and health care providers enjoying support as front-line heroes in the pandemic, state legislators have stripped the option from their bill.