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?’: Health Care as Infrastructure

President Joe Biden’s infrastructure proposal includes items not traditionally considered “infrastructure,” including a $400 billion expansion of home and community-based services for seniors and people with disabilities, and a $50 billion effort to replace water pipes lined with lead. Meanwhile, the politics of covid-19 are turning to how or whether Americans will need to prove they’ve been vaccinated. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Tami Luhby of CNN and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Plus, Rovner interviews KFF’s Mollyann Brodie about the KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Planning for Round Two

The ink is barely dry on the recent covid relief bill, but Democrats in Congress and President Joe Biden are wasting no time gearing up for their next big legislative package. Meanwhile, predictions of more states expanding Medicaid have proved premature. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Rachel Cohrs of Stat and Kimberly Leonard of Business Insider join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Plus, Rovner interviews KHN’s Lauren Weber, who reported the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” episode.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Getting Down to Work at HHS

After a bruising confirmation process, Xavier Becerra was sworn in as secretary of Health and Human Services this week. The Senate also confirmed the nominations of former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy to return to the post he held in the Obama administration, and former Pennsylvania health secretary Rachel Levine as assistant secretary for health. Levine is the first openly transgender person to receive Senate confirmation. Meanwhile, questions continue to swirl around the AstraZeneca covid vaccine, which some public health experts worry will create more hesitancy toward other vaccines.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: ACA Packs More Benefits — And More Confusion

The covid relief bill signed by President Joe Biden includes a long list of new health benefits for consumers. But many eligible people may have difficulty taking advantage of them because of the interaction with the income tax system and a lack of expert guidance. Meanwhile, Democrats are debating internally about what should come next on the health agenda. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Mary Ellen McIntire of CQ Roll Call and Rachana Pradhan of KHN join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Expanding the ACA in an Unpredicted Way

Beyond the billions of dollars aimed squarely at the pandemic, the covid relief bill cleared by Congress this week includes significant changes to health policy. Among them are the first major expansions to the Affordable Care Act since its enactment 11 years ago and changes that could expand coverage for the Medicaid program. Tami Luhby of CNN, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico 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?’: Good and Not-So-Good News on Covid

The FDA authorized the emergency use of a one-shot vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson, which could help accelerate the pace of vaccinations to prevent covid-19. But after a dramatic decline, case numbers are again rising, and several states are rolling back public health mitigation efforts. Mary Ellen McIntire of CQ Roll Call, Joanne Kenen of Politico and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews KHN’s Jordan Rau about the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” episode.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Staffing Up at HHS

More than a month into the Biden administration, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, the nominee to run the Department of Health and Human Services, finally got his confirmation hearings in the Senate, along with nominees for surgeon general and assistant secretary for health. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court announced it would hear a case challenging the Trump administration’s regulation that effectively evicted Planned Parenthood from the federal family planning program. Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, Tami Luhby of CNN and Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews HuffPost’s Jonathan Cohn, whose new book, “The Ten Year War: Obamacare and the Unfinished Crusade for Universal Coverage,” is out this week.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Open Enrollment, One More Time

Keeping a campaign promise, President Joe Biden has reopened enrollment for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act on healthcare.gov — and states that run their own health insurance marketplaces followed suit. At the same time, the Biden administration is moving to revoke the Trump administration’s permission for states to impose work requirements for some adults on the Medicaid health insurance program. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Kimberly Leonard of Business Insider and Rachel Cohrs of Stat join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also, Rovner interviews medical student Inam Sakinah, president of the new group Future Doctors in Politics.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: All About Budget Reconciliation

Even while the Senate is busy with Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, the House has gotten down to work on a covid relief bill using the budget reconciliation process. Meanwhile, the watchword for covid this week among the public is confusion — over masks, vaccines and just about everything else science-related. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Paige Winfield Cunningham of The Washington Post and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, the panelists recommend their favorite “health policy valentines” along with their favorite health policy stories they think you should read, too.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Covid and Kids

Can schools safely reopen before all teachers and staffers are vaccinated against covid? And what’s the best way to communicate that science — and scientific recommendations — change and evolve? Also, get ready for a redo of open enrollment for Affordable Care Act coverage, this time with help and outreach to find those eligible. Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico and Anna Edney of Bloomberg News join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The Long Road to Unwinding Trump Health Policies

President Joe Biden signed a pair of health-related executive orders this week that would, among other things, reopen enrollment under the Affordable Care Act and start to reverse former President Donald Trump’s anti-abortion policies. Meanwhile, Congress remains bogged down with taking up the next round of covid-19 relief. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Mary Ellen McIntire of CQ Roll Call and Shefali Luthra of The 19th 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 Biden Health Agenda

President Joe Biden is wasting no time getting to work. On his first day in office, Biden signed a series of executive orders addressing the covid pandemic, promising more to come. But even with Democrats taking the barest majority in the Senate, the new president’s ambitious proposals on covid and other health issues could be in for a rough ride. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Tami Luhby of CNN 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?’: 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.