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 SoundCloud | Spotify | Apple Podcasts | StitcherPocket Casts

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

Part II: The State of the Abortion Debate 50 Years After ‘Roe’

In Part II of this special two-part episode, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Sandhya Raman of CQ Roll Call, and Sarah Varney of KHN join KHN chief Washington correspondent Julie Rovner to discuss how the abortion debate has evolved since the Supreme Court overturned the nationwide right to abortion in 2022, and what might be the flashpoints for 2023. Also, for extra credit, the panelists recommend their most memorable reproductive health stories from the last year.

Part I: The State of the Abortion Debate 50 Years After ‘Roe’

In Part I of this special two-part episode, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Sandhya Raman of CQ Roll Call, and Sarah Varney of KHN join KHN chief Washington correspondent Julie Rovner to discuss how the abortion debate has evolved since the Supreme Court overturned the nationwide right to abortion in 2022, and what might be the flashpoints for 2023. Also in this episode, Rovner interviews Elizabeth Nash of the Guttmacher Institute, about changing reproductive policies in the states.

As US Bumps Against Debt Ceiling, Medicare Becomes a Bargaining Chip

The debt ceiling crisis facing Washington puts Medicare and other popular entitlement programs squarely on the negotiating table this year as newly empowered Republicans demand spending cuts. Meanwhile, as more Americans than ever have health insurance, the nation’s health care workforce is straining under the load. Joanne Kenen of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Politico, Tami Luhby of CNN, and Victoria Knight of Axios join KHN’s chief Washington correspondent Julie Rovner to discuss these topics and more. Plus, for extra credit, the panelists recommend their favorite health policy stories of the week they think you should read, too.

GOP House Opens With Abortion Agenda

Leaders of the new Republican-led U.S. House kicked off their legislative agenda with two bills supported by anti-abortion groups. While neither is likely to become law, the move demonstrates how abortion will continue to be an issue in Washington. Meanwhile, as open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act nears its end in most states, the number of Americans covered by the plans hits a new high. 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 topics and more. Plus, for extra credit, the panelists recommend their favorite health policy stories of the week they think you should read, too.

Year-End Bill Holds Big Health Changes

The year-end spending bill passed by Congress in late December contains a wide array of health-related provisions, including a structure for states to begin to disenroll people on Medicaid whose coverage has been maintained through the pandemic. Meanwhile, the Biden administration is taking steps to make the abortion pill more widely available. Joanne Kenen of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Politico, Rachel Cohrs of Stat, and Rachel Roubein of The Washington Post join KHN’s chief Washington correspondent Julie Rovner to discuss these topics and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews Mark Kreidler, who reported and wrote the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” feature about a billing mix-up that took about a year to sort out.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The Covid Response Coordinator Speaks

In this special episode of KHN’s “What the Health?” Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, talks with host Julie Rovner, KHN’s chief Washington correspondent, about where we are in the pandemic and how we should transition out of the public health emergency. This episode was taped on Dec. 20.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Health Spending? Only Congress Knows

Top negotiators in Congress have agreed to a framework for government spending into next year, but there are details to iron out before a vote — such as the scheduled Medicare payment cuts that have providers worried. Also, the Biden administration reopens its program allowing Americans to request free covid-19 home tests, as hopes for pandemic preparedness measures from Congress dim. Rachel Cohrs of Stat, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, and Rebecca Adams of KHN join KHN’s Mary Agnes Carey to discuss these topics 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?’: Congress Races the Clock

Sen. Raphael Warnock’s re-election in Georgia will give Democrats a clear-cut Senate majority for the first time in nearly a decade. Meanwhile, the current Congress has only days left to tackle major unfinished business on the health agenda, including fending off scheduled pay cuts for doctors and other health providers in the Medicare program. Joanne Kenen of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Politico, Anna Edney of Bloomberg News, and Sandhya Raman of CQ Roll Call join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these topics 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?’: Medicaid Machinations

The lame-duck Congress has returned to Washington with a long health care to-do list and only a little time. Meanwhile, some of the states that have not yet expanded Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act are rethinking those decisions. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Rachel Cohrs of Stat, and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these topics and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews KHN’s Fred Clasen-Kelly, who reported and wrote the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” feature, about a mysterious mishap during minor surgery.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The Changing of the Guard

Democrats retained control of the U.S. Senate in the midterm elections, while Republicans won a majority in the House, giving them the ability to block items on President Joe Biden’s agenda. Meanwhile, the lame-duck, Democratic-led Congress won’t have the votes to pass abortion rights legislation, although they may try to undo some long-standing anti-abortion policies in federal spending bills. Joanne Kenen of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Politico, Victoria Knight of Axios, and Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these topics and more.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The Midterm Shake-Up

Election night went better than expected for Democrats. Although they could still lose control of one or both houses of Congress, the predicted “red wave” for Republicans failed to materialize. Meanwhile, voters in both red and blue states approved ballot measures to protect abortion rights. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Rachel Cohrs of Stat, and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these topics and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews Carolee Lee, the former jewelry magnate, about her efforts to boost gender equity in medical research.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: ACA Open Enrollment Without the Drama

The Affordable Care Act’s 10th annual open-enrollment period began Nov. 1 and runs through Jan. 15, 2023, in most states. But for the first time, the health law seems to be enrolling Americans with far less controversy than in previous years. Meanwhile, as Election Day approaches, Democrats are focusing on GOP efforts to cut Social Security and Medicare. Joanne Kenen of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Politico, Tami Luhby of CNN, and Julie Appleby of KHN join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these topics and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews KHN’s Arthur Allen, who wrote the latest KNH-NPR Bill of the Month, about an old but still very expensive cancer drug.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Voters Will Get Their Say on Multiple Health Issues

Abortion isn’t the only health issue voters will be asked to decide in state ballot questions next month. Proposals about medical debt, Medicaid expansion, and whether health care should be a right are on ballots in various states. Meanwhile, the latest lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act has expanded to cover all preventive care. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Jessie Hellmann of CQ Roll Call, and Victoria Knight of Axios join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these topics and more.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Biden Hits the Road to Sell Democrats’ Record

With the midterm elections rapidly approaching, President Joe Biden has taken to the road to convince voters that he and congressional Democrats have delivered for them during two years in power. Among the health issues highlighted by the administration this week are pandemic preparedness and the availability of over-the-counter hearing aids. The president also promised to sign a bill codifying the abortion protections of Roe v. Wade if Democrats maintain control of the House and Senate — even though it’s a long shot that there will be enough votes for that. Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet, Sandhya Raman of CQ Roll Call, and Mary Agnes Carey of KHN join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these topics 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?’: Finally Fixing the ‘Family Glitch’

The Biden administration has decided to try to fix the so-called “family glitch” in the Affordable Care Act without an act of Congress. The provision has prevented workers’ families from getting subsidized coverage if an employer offer is unaffordable. Meanwhile, Medicare’s open enrollment period begins Oct. 15, and private Medicare Advantage plans are poised to cover more than half of Medicare’s 65 million enrollees. Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, Joanne Kenen of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Politico, and Rachel Cohrs of Stat join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these topics and more. Plus, for extra credit, the panelists recommend their favorite health policy stories of the week they think you should read.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Looking Ahead to the Lame-Duck Session

Congress won’t be back in Washington until after Election Day, but lawmakers have left themselves a long list of items to finish up in November and December, including unfinished health care policies. Sandhya Raman of CQ Roll Call; Jessie Hellmann, also of CQ Roll Call; and Mary Agnes Carey of KHN join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these topics and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews KHN’s Sam Whitehead, who reported and wrote the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” episode about a family who tried to use urgent care to save money, but ended up with a big emergency room bill anyway.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: On Government Spending, Congress Decides Not to Decide

Congress has once again decided not to decide how to fund the federal government in time for the start of the fiscal year, racing toward a midnight Sept. 30 deadline to pass a stopgap bill that would keep the lights on for two more months. However, it does appear the FDA’s program that gets drugmakers to help fund some of the agency’s review staff will be renewed in time to stop pink slips from being sent. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Rachel Cohrs of Stat, and Victoria Knight of Axios join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these topics and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews filmmaker Cynthia Lowen, whose new documentary, “Battleground,” explores how anti-abortion forces played the long game to overturn Roe v. Wade.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Biden Declares the Pandemic ‘Over’

President Joe Biden, in an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes,” declared the covid-19 pandemic “over,” stoking confusion for members of his administration trying to persuade Congress to provide more funding to fight the virus and the public to get the latest boosters. Meanwhile, concerns about a return of medical inflation is helping boost insurance premiums even as private companies race to get their piece of the health pie. Anna Edney of Bloomberg News, Joanne Kenen of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Politico, and Lauren Weber of KHN join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also, for extra credit, the panelists suggest their favorite health policy stories they think you should read, too.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Graham’s Bill Recenters Abortion Debate

Republicans would like to shift the political focus away from abortion to economic issues for the midterm elections, but a bill from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) that would ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy has put the issue squarely back on their agenda. The proposal was not welcomed by many of his colleagues, especially Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Also this week, the muddle about where the fight against covid stands and near-record-low numbers of uninsured in the U.S. Rachel Cohrs of Stat, Sandhya Raman of CQ Roll Call, and Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times join KHN’s partnerships editor, Mary Agnes Carey, to discuss these issues and more.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Judge Takes Aim at the Affordable Care Act’s Preventive Care Benefits

A federal judge in Texas — the same one who tried to strike down the Affordable Care Act as unconstitutional in 2018 — has ruled against some of the ACA’s preventive benefits, including the requirement that employers cover medication to prevent HIV. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs tries to make abortions slightly more available to veterans and their dependents. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet, and Joanne Kenen of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Politico join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews KHN’s Lauren Sausser, who reported and wrote the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” installment.