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?’: 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.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Kamala Harris on Health

The Democratic presidential ticket is complete, with Joe Biden’s selection of California Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate. Health has not been a major issue for Harris, whose career priority has been the criminal justice system. But expect Republicans to pounce on her on-again, off-again support for “Medicare for All.” Meanwhile, with Congress still in a stalemate over another round of COVID-19 relief, President Donald Trump is trying to use his executive power to do what lawmakers have not — with mixed success. Kimberly Leonard of Business Insider, Joanne Kenen of Politico and Mary Agnes Carey of KHN 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.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Still Waiting for That Trump Health Plan

President Donald Trump keeps promising a comprehensive plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. And he keeps not delivering. Meanwhile, members of Congress and White House officials seem unable to agree on a new COVID-19 relief bill. And Missouri becomes the sixth state where voters approved a Medicaid expansion ballot measure. Tami Luhby of CNN, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico and Kimberly Leonard of Business Insider 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.

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Republicans in COVID Disarray

President Donald Trump’s sobering view of COVID-19 didn’t last long – this week, he was back to pushing hydroxychloroquine, a drug that has been shown not to work in treating the virus. Meanwhile, Republicans on Capitol Hill are still scrambling to agree among themselves and with the White House on the next coronavirus relief bill, as both a moratorium on evictions and extra unemployment payments expire. And the debate over drug prices, which was going to be one of the biggest health issues of this election year, makes a brief appearance. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Mary Ellen McIntire of CQ Roll Call and Anna Edney of Bloomberg News join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more. Also, Rovner interviews KHN’s Markian Hawryluk, who wrote the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” story about a surprise bill from a surprise surgical assistant.

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Trump Twists on Virus Response

President Donald Trump has, for now at least, become a realist on the extent of the COVID-19 crisis around the country, and he is urging Americans to socially distance and wear masks. Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, Republicans facing a July 31 deadline are scrambling to come together on their version of the next COVID relief bill. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times and Tami Luhby of CNN join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more. Also, Rovner interviews NPR’s Pam Fessler, author of the new book “Carville’s Cure,” which traces the history of the United States’ only federal leprosarium.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The Trump Administration’s War on Fauci

Case counts for COVID-19 are rising in nearly every state, yet a major campaign by the Trump administration this past week was an attempt to discredit Dr. Anthony Fauci, a trusted voice in public health. Meanwhile, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s surprise decision to protect abortion rights, there’s been a flurry of activity on reproductive health issues in lower federal courts. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Paige Winfield Cunningham of The Washington Post and Erin Mershon of Stat News join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more.

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: ‘Open The Schools, Close The Bars’

While COVID-19 cases continue to surge in more than half the country, the Trump administration has decided its top priority is for schools to open for in-person learning this fall. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court hands Trump a victory in a case to limit the reach of the birth control benefit under the Affordable Care Act. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Mary Ellen McIntire of CQ Roll Call and Kimberly Leonard of Business Insider join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more. Also, Rovner interviews KHN’s Sarah Varney about the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month.”

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: High Court’s Surprising Abortion Decision

In a decision that surprised both sides of the polarized abortion debate, the Supreme Court struck down a Louisiana law that would require doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico and Jennifer Haberkorn of the Los Angeles Times join KHN’s Julie Rovner to break down what happened, what comes next and how this case could provide a clue to the one challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: The Pandemic Shifts; The Politics, Not So Much

While federal and state officials continue to wrangle over coronavirus testing, the population testing positive is skewing younger. Meanwhile, the Trump administration wins a round in court over its requirements for hospitals to publicly reveal their prices, and the fight over the fate of the Affordable Care Act heats up once again. Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, Paige Winfield Cunningham of The Washington Post and Kimberly Leonard of Business Insider join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more. Also, Rovner interviews former Obama administration health aide Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, who has written a new book comparing international health systems.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: SCOTUS, Trump Collide Over Transgender Rights

The Trump administration rolled back protections for transgender patients just days before the Supreme Court cemented LGBTQ rights under the Civil Rights Act. So, what now? Meanwhile, coronavirus politics reaches beyond health care settings. Anna Edney of Bloomberg News, Tami Luhby of CNN and Shefali Luthra of KHN join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more. Also, for extra credit, the panelists recommend their favorite health stories of the week they think you should read, too.

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Say What? The Spread Of Coronavirus Confusion

Months into the COVID-19 pandemic, the public seems more confused than ever. And health officials still are not all on the same page; this week the World Health Organization had to walk back an official’s statement about how commonly the virus is spread by people without symptoms. Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, Paige Winfield Cunningham of The Washington Post and Mary Ellen McIntire of CQ Roll Call join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more. Also, Rovner interviews Michael Mackert, a professor and health communications expert at the University of Texas-Austin, about how health information can best be translated to the public.

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Protests And The Pandemic

The outrage over the death of an African American man, George Floyd, after he was restrained and knelt on by Minneapolis police officers has sparked national protests, including in places where the coronavirus is still spreading. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump’s attempt to withdraw the U.S. from the World Health Organization could have ramifications for Americans. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Mary Agnes Carey of KHN and Joanne Kenen of Politico join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more. Also, Rovner interviews Jonathan Oberlander, a University of North Carolina health policy professor and the editor of the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, about articles examining the COVID-19 pandemic through the lens of health inequity and structural racism.

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Still Seeking A Federal Coronavirus Strategy

Democrats were not impressed with the Trump administration’s COVID-19 national testing strategy document submitted to Congress this week. They say the pandemic requires more direction from the federal government, while the administration wants to give nearly all the responsibility to the states. Meanwhile, in an effort to shore up his base of senior voters, President Donald Trump has unveiled a plan to limit what those on Medicare must pay out-of-pocket for insulin. Anna Edney of Bloomberg News, Erin Mershon of STAT News and Joanne Kenen of Politico join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more. Also, Rovner interviews KHN’s Phil Galewitz, who wrote the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” installment about a patient who thought he might have COVID-19, did everything right and got a big bill, anyway.

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: When It Comes To COVID-19, States Are On Their Own

Just about every state is lifting some coronavirus-related restrictions, but it’s unclear how things are really going, considering data on the spread of the virus lags and may not be reliable. Meanwhile, the federal government continues to throw more responsibility for dealing with the pandemic to state and local governments. Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, Kimberly Leonard of Business Insider and Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more.

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: What’s In The Next Round Of COVID-19 Relief?

House Democrats unveiled legislation that would effectively double what the federal government has spent on relief for the COVID-19 pandemic, but Republicans say they want to wait before even talking about another bill. Meanwhile, a key Republican senator called the GOP court case challenging the Affordable Care Act “flimsy.” Rebecca Adams of CQ Roll Call and Joanne Kenen of Politico join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more.

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Blowing The Whistle On Trump Team’s COVID Policies

Frustration from inside the Trump administration over the management of the COVID-19 pandemic is starting to become public, as whistleblowers ― some anonymous, some named — tell how the effort is being undermined by favoritism, incompetence and a disdain for science. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court heard a case that could threaten the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Anna Edney of Bloomberg News and Rachana Pradhan of Kaiser Health News join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more. Also, for “extra credit,” the panelists recommend their favorite stories of the week they think you should read, too.