KHN’s ‘What The Health?’

Join Julie Rovner, chief Washington correspondent for Kaiser Health News, along with top health policy reporters from The New York Times, The Washington Post, Politico and other media outlets to discuss the latest news and explain what the health is going on here in Washington.

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If you have a question for the podcast, you can send it to whatthehealth@kff.org.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: On Capitol Hill, Actions Have Consequences

Several large business groups, including health industry organizations, are cutting off contributions to Republicans who voted against the certification of Joe Biden’s election even after riots shut down the Capitol on Jan. 6. Meanwhile, the outgoing Trump administration not only approved a Medicaid block grant for Tennessee, but also made it difficult for the incoming Biden administration to undo. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times and Kimberly Leonard of Business Insider join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Plus, Rovner interviews KHN’s Victoria Knight about the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” episode.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Georgia Turns the Senate Blue

Democratic victories in two runoff elections in Georgia will give Democrats control of the Senate starting Jan. 20, which means they will be in charge of both houses of Congress and the White House for the first time since 2010. Meanwhile, covid continues to run rampant while vaccine distribution lags. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Anna Edney of Bloomberg News 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?’: 2020 in Review — It Wasn’t All COVID

The coronavirus pandemic colored just about everything in 2020. But there was other health policy news that you either never heard or might have forgotten about: the Affordable Care Act going before the Supreme Court with its survival on the line; ditto for Medicaid work requirements. And a surprise ending to the “surprise bill” saga. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Anna Edney of Bloomberg News and Sarah Karlin-Smith of Pink Sheet join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: All I Want for Christmas Is a COVID Relief Bill

Congress seems on the verge of finishing a long-delayed COVID-19 relief bill, which will reportedly include neither of the things each party wanted most — for Republicans, liability protections; for Democrats, funding for states and localities. That bill is likely to be tied to a package to fund the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year and, possibly, include a fix for “surprise” medical bills that patients receive when they inadvertently receive care outside their insurance network. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Rebecca Adams of CQ Roll Call and Mary Agnes Carey of KHN join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner talks to Elizabeth Mitchell, president and CEO of the Pacific Business Group on Health, about the future of employer-provided health insurance.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Vaccines Coming Soon but COVID Relief Bill Still Stalled

Even as the Food and Drug Administration nears emergency authorization for the first vaccine to protect against COVID-19, Congress remains at loggerheads over a COVID relief bill that could also provide the funding to fully distribute the vaccines. Meanwhile, President-elect Joe Biden announced the first members of his health team. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Kimberly Leonard of Business Insider and Mary Ellen McIntire of CQ Roll Call join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews Michael Mackert of the University of Texas-Austin, an expert on communicating public health information.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Who Will Run the Biden Health Effort?

The official transition to a Joe Biden administration has finally begun, and he is expected to announce his health care team soon, including a new secretary of Health and Human Services. Meanwhile, as the COVID-19 pandemic worsens in the U.S., officials are preparing for the effort to get Americans vaccinated as soon as vaccines are approved by the FDA. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times and Paige Winfield Cunningham of The Washington Post join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews KHN’s Julie Appleby, who wrote the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” installment.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Transition Troubles Mount as COVID Spreads

COVID-19 is spreading rapidly around the U.S. even before Thanksgiving promises to accelerate the trend. There are two promising vaccine candidates, but because President Donald Trump still refuses to concede the election and is holding up the official transition, President-Elect Joe Biden and his team cannot access plans for distributing those vaccines. Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet 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?’: What Would Dr. Fauci Do?

Anthony Fauci is one of the nation’s most trusted voices during public health emergencies. As the head of the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, Fauci has helped guide the nation through the HIV/AIDS epidemic and more recent outbreaks of Ebola and Zika. In this special episode of KHN’s “What the Health?” podcast, Fauci sits down with KHN Editor-in-Chief Elisabeth Rosenthal to talk about how to navigate the next phase of the coronavirus pandemic and what the incoming Biden administration should do first.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Transition Interrupted

Former Vice President Joe Biden is now the president-elect nearly everywhere but inside the Trump administration, where the president refuses to concede and has ordered officials not to begin a formal transition. That is a particular problem for health care as the COVID-19 pandemic surges. Meanwhile, there’s good news on the vaccine front, but it’s unlikely one will arrive by winter. And the ACA was back before the Supreme Court — again. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Stephanie Armour of The Wall Street Journal and Shefali Luthra of the 19th News join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Plus, for extra credit, the panelists recommend their favorite health stories of the week they think you should read, too.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Change Is in the Air

Former Vice President Joe Biden remains on the cusp of being declared the winner of the presidential election, and which party will control the Senate next year remains in question. The outcomes of both the presidential and Senate elections will have dramatic effects on the health agenda. Meanwhile, should President Donald Trump eke out a win, his administration is still pushing some sweeping health changes. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Kimberly Leonard of Business Insider and Mary Ellen McIntire of CQ Roll Call join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: As Cases Spike, White House Declares Pandemic Over

Former President Barack Obama says President Donald Trump is “jealous of COVID’s media coverage.” Indeed, Trump has complained at his rallies, attended by mostly maskless supporters, about how the media covers the pandemic — at a time when cases are rising rapidly across the nation. Meanwhile, open enrollment is about to begin for the Affordable Care Act in a year when many people need coverage, but the law’s future is not secure. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Tami Luhby of CNN and Anna Edney of Bloomberg News join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Plus, Rovner interviews KHN’s Anna Almendrala about the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” installment.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: A Little Good News and Some Bad on COVID-19

Glimmers of hope are beginning to appear in the fight against the coronavirus, such as a decreasing death rate. But there’s not-so-good news, too, including a push for “herd immunity,” which could result in millions more deaths. Meanwhile, the Trump administration doubles down on work requirements for Medicaid. Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, Paige Winfield Cunningham of The Washington Post 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.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Democrats May Lose on SCOTUS, But Hope to Win on ACA

Barring something unexpected, Democrats in the Senate appear to lack the votes to block the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. So, instead they used the high-profile confirmation hearings to hammer on Republicans for again putting the Affordable Care Act in peril. Mary Ellen McIntire of CQ Roll Call, Shefali Luthra of The 19th and Sarah Karlin-Smith of Pink Sheet join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Plus, Rovner interviews Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, about public health challenges in dealing with COVID-19.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Trump vs. COVID

President Donald Trump is one of at least two dozen people tied to the White House who have tested positive for COVID-19. Negotiations on the next round of COVID relief are off again — maybe. And the FDA and CDC continue to fight for scientific credibility. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Kimberly Leonard of Business Insider and Erin Mershon of Stat News join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Plus, Rovner interviews Amy Howe of SCOTUSblog about what the Supreme Court might do with the latest case challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Election Preview: What’s Next for Health?

How will health issues affect voter choices? What will happen if President Donald Trump is reelected or the White House goes to Joe Biden? In this special election preview episode, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, Joanne Kenen of Politico and Rebecca Adams of CQ Roll Call join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: ACA in Peril With Ginsburg’s Seat in Play

The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is giving new life to the latest constitutional challenge to the Affordable Care Act. It also places anti-abortion activists on the cusp of a court majority large enough to ensure the rollback of the right to abortion and, possibly, some types of birth control. Meanwhile, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar tries to centralize power at the sprawling department plagued by miscommunications and scandals. Anna Edney of Bloomberg News, Kimberly Leonard of Business Insider and Mary Ellen McIntire of CQ Roll Call join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Plus, Rovner interviews KHN’s Sarah Jane Tribble about her new podcast, “Where It Hurts,” debuting Sept. 29.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: It’s Scandal Week

President Donald Trump this week issued a prescription drug pricing order unlikely to lower drug prices, and he contradicted comments by his director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the need for mask-wearing and predictions for vaccine availability. Meanwhile, scandals erupted at the CDC, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Food and Drug Administration. And the number of people without health insurance grew in 2019, reported the Census Bureau, even while the economy soared. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Tami Luhby of CNN and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this 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 Science

Republicans have all but abandoned the Affordable Care Act as a campaign cudgel, judging from their national convention, at least. Meanwhile, career scientists at the federal government’s preeminent health agencies — the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health — are all coming under increasing political pressure as the pandemic drags on. 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 this and more. Plus, Rovner interviews KHN’s Elizabeth Lawrence about the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” installment.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’ Replay: What’s at Stake When High Court Hears ACA Case

We’re off this week, but the Affordable Care Act is in the news, as the GOP holds its virtual convention and the Supreme Court recently scheduled arguments in a case challenging the law. So we’re reposting our ACA 10th anniversary episode from March. For this special episode of “What the Health?” host Julie Rovner interviews Kathleen Sebelius, who was President Barack Obama’s secretary of Health and Human Services when the law was passed. Then Rovner, Joanne Kenen of Politico and Mary Agnes Carey of KHN discuss the law’s history, impact and prospects for the future.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Democrats in Array (For Now)

In a highly produced, made-for-TV political convention, Democrats papered over their differences on a variety of issues, including health care, to show a unified front to defeat President Donald Trump in November. Meanwhile, COVID-19 continues to complicate efforts to get students back to school, and a federal judge blocks the Trump administration’s efforts to eliminate anti-discrimination protections for transgender people. Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, Paige Winfield Cunningham of The Washington Post and Shefali Luthra of The 19th join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more. Plus, for extra credit, the panelists recommend their favorite health stories of the week they think you should read, too.