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.

Listen and Subscribe on iTunes | Stitcher | SoundCloud | Spotify | Pocket Casts

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

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Legislate-A-Palooza

The House passed legislation that would give federal workers 12 weeks of paid parental leave. The measure appears headed for passage in the Senate, and President Donald Trump has promised to sign the measure into law. Meanwhile, House and Senate lawmakers have a tentative deal on surprise medical bills, but don’t count on a compromise just yet. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Kimberly Leonard of the Washington Examiner and Emmarie Huetteman of Kaiser Health News join guest host Mary Agnes Carey of KHN to discuss this and more. And for “extra credit,” the panelists offer their favorite health stories of the week they think you should read, too.

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: We Spend HOW MUCH On Health Care?

The annual accounting of national health spending is out. And the 2018 health bill for the U.S. was $3.6 trillion, consuming nearly a fifth of the nation’s economy. Meanwhile, Congress is nearing the end of the year without having finished either its annual spending bills or several other high-priority health items. Kimberly Leonard of the Washington Examiner, Joanne Kenen of Politico and Mary Agnes Carey of Kaiser Health News join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more. Also, Rovner interviews KHN’s Markian Hawryluk about the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month.”

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: How’s That Open Enrollment Going?

Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act’s marketplace plans is halfway over and, so far, the number of people signing up is down, but not dramatically. Meanwhile, Congress and President Donald Trump can’t seem to agree on what to do about teen vaping, drug prices or “surprise” medical bills. And Democrats lurch to the left on abortion. Paige Winfield Cunningham of The Washington Post, Kimberly Leonard of the Washington Examiner and Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more health news.

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: The Health Care Campaign

Health care is still a top issue in the Democratic primary debate for president, but the candidates’ complicated plans may be doing more to confuse than to educate voters. Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, Caitlin Owens of Axios and Julie Appleby of Kaiser Health News join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more health news. Also, for extra credit, the panelists recommend their favorite health policy stories of the week.

KHN’s ‘What The Health’: Spending Bill Slowdown

It’s November, do you know where your HHS spending bill is? Still stuck in Congress. Meanwhile, lawmakers move ahead on restricting tobacco products for youth while the administration’s proposal is MIA. Rebecca Adams of CQ Roll Call and Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more health news from the week. Also, Rovner interviews Dan Weissmann, host of the podcast “An Arm and a Leg.”

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Elections Matter

Key Democratic wins in 2019 state elections in Virginia and (probably) Kentucky could have big implications for health care in general and Medicaid in particular. And in the Democratic presidential primary, Elizabeth Warren is catching flak from all sides over her “Medicare For All” plan. This week, Joanne Kenen of Politico, Caitlin Owens of Axios and Kimberly Leonard of the Washington Examiner join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Plus, Rovner interviews KHN’s Laura Ungar, who wrote the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month.” For “extra credit,” the panelists recommend their favorite health stories of the week.

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Spooky Stuff

If it’s Halloween, that means open enrollment for plans on the Affordable Care Act exchanges is right around the corner. Prices are down this year, but the future of the health law remains in doubt due to a lawsuit seeking to have the entire measure thrown out. This week, Stephanie Armour of The Wall Street Journal, Mary Agnes Carey of Kaiser Health News and Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, the panelists read the top entries in KHN’s Halloween Health Haiku Contest.

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: All About Medicaid

Medicare’s sister program actually covers more people than Medicare. It’s complex and sometimes confusing, but Medicaid is critical to states, health care providers and the more than 70 million people it serves. In this episode of KHN’s “What the Health?” host Julie Rovner interviews Diane Rowland, formerly EVP and Executive Director of the Medicaid Program at the Kaiser Family Foundation and one of the nation’s top Medicaid experts. Then Rovner, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, Tami Luhby of CNN and Joanne Kenen of Politico discuss some of the current debates surrounding Medicaid and its future.

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Democrats Do Drugs (Prices)

House Democrats start legislative work on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s prescription drug pricing bill; health is again a featured player in the Democratic presidential candidate debate; and courts around the country hold up President Donald Trump’s health agenda. This week, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, Tami Luhby of CNN, and Joanne Kenen of Politico 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.

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Trump Merges Health And Immigration

President Donald Trump has ordered that legal immigrants obtain health insurance within 30 days of arriving or prove they can pay for any possible medical need ― another policy certain to be challenged in court. Meanwhile, health issues continue to play a major role in campaign 2020. This week, Paige Winfield Cunningham of The Washington Post, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico and Julie Appleby of Kaiser Health News join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more.

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Trump Turns To Medicare

President Donald Trump, dogged by an impeachment inquiry, tries to change the subject by unveiling an executive order aimed at expanding the role of private Medicare health plans. The Trump administration also launched an effort this week to expand “wellness” programs aimed at getting people with insurance to practice better health habits – even though research has shown the efforts don’t generally improve health or save money. This week, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Kimberly Leonard of the Washington Examiner and Rebecca Adams of CQ Roll Call join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more.

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Impeachment And The Health Agenda

Washington is abuzz with impeachment talk, but what impact would such a move have on congressional action on prescription drug prices and surprise bills? Also, a study out this week shows that health insurance costs for both employers and workers continue to rise. This week, Joanne Kenen of Politico, Paige Winfield Cunningham of The Washington Post and Rebecca Adams of CQ Roll Call join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more.

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Tennessee Seeks Medicaid Changes

Tennessee wants to convert its Medicaid program to a block grant. But is its plan legal? Meanwhile, Congress continues to struggle with legislation to rein in prescription drug prices and surprise medical bills. This week, Anna Edney of Bloomberg News, Jennifer Haberkorn of the Los Angeles Times and Kimberly Leonard of the Washington Examiner join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Rovner also interviews Dr. Marty Makary, author of the new book “The Price We Pay” about why health care costs so much.

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Despite Booming Economy, Uninsured Rate Ticks Up

Nearly 2 million more Americans were uninsured in 2018 than in the previous year, according to the Census Bureau’s annual report. Plus, the Trump administration announced plans to ban flavored vape liquids, and Congress is back and working to address high prescription drug prices and “surprise” medical bills. This week, Joanne Kenen of Politico, Tami Luhby of CNN and Rebecca Adams of CQ Roll Call join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more.

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Waiting For The Trump Health Plan

President Donald Trump keeps promising a new health plan, but so far it’s nowhere to be seen. Meanwhile, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is proposing a plan to cancel billions of dollars in medical debt owed by patients. This week, Stephanie Armour of The Wall Street Journal, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico and Kimberly Leonard of the Washington Examiner join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Rovner also interviews KHN’s Rachel Bluth about the latest “Bill of the Month” feature. Plus, for “extra credit,” the panelists recommend their favorite health stories of the week.

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: All About Medicare

Before “Medicare for All,” there was just Medicare, the federal program that provides insurance to 60 million Americans. This week, KHN’s Julie Rovner talks to Tricia Neuman of the Kaiser Family Foundation about how Medicare works and whom it serves. Then, Joanne Kenen of Politico, Paige Winfield Cunningham of The Washington Post and Kimberly Leonard of the Washington Examiner join Rovner to talk about some current Medicare issues being debated in Washington, D.C.

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: We Answer Your Questions

You asked about drug prices, the “Cadillac tax” on generous insurance plans and why Americans don’t know that most other countries also have combination public-private insurance systems. This week, Anna Edney of Bloomberg News, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico and Caitlin Owens of Axios join KHN’s Julie Rovner to answer those questions.

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Gun Violence And The Politics Of Public Health

The recent tragic mass shootings have refocused efforts to treat gun violence as a public health issue rather than strictly a law enforcement problem. Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico and Mary Agnes Carey of Kaiser Health News join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this, plus the health implications of the budget deal passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump, as well as reaction from Canada to a proposal to allow broader imports of its prescription drugs. Plus, for “extra credit,” the panelists recommend their favorite health stories of the week.

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Deciphering The Democrats’ Health Debate

Health care was a major topic at the Democratic presidential candidate debates in Detroit on Tuesday and Wednesday, but the focus on plan minutiae may have left viewers more confused than edified. Alice Ollstein of Politico, Kimberly Leonard of the Washington Examiner and Caitlin Owens of Axios join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss the points made by the candidates plus a series of Trump administration health initiatives on drug prices and hospital shopping.

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Cue The Drug Price Debate

Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee unveiled their long-awaited proposal to try to rein in prescription drug costs, even as bipartisan leaders of the other Senate committee that oversees health announced it would not bring its drug price bill to the Senate floor until fall. Paige Winfield Cunningham of The Washington Post, Rebecca Adams of CQ Roll Call and Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this, plus court actions on health issues.