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?’: The Future of Public Health, 2022 Edition

A new report from the Commonwealth Fund Commission on a National Public Health System calls for a major overhaul of the way the U.S. organizes, funds, and communicates about public health, particularly in the harsh spotlight of the covid-19 pandemic. In this special episode of KHN’s “What the Health?” host Julie Rovner and KHN’s correspondent Lauren Weber interview the commission’s chair, Dr. Margaret Hamburg, former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, about how to fix what ails public health.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Wrapping Up Summer’s Health News

President Joe Biden has signed the Inflation Reduction Act and Congress is gone until after Labor Day. But the administration and lawmakers left lots of health policy achievements behind, including new rules to facilitate the sale of over-the-counter hearing aids and a potential reorganization of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Anna Edney of Bloomberg News, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, 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, for extra credit, the panelists suggest their favorite health policy stories of the week they think you should read, too.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: A Big Week for Biden

Congress is leaving for its annual summer break having accomplished far more than many expected, including, barring unforeseen snags, a bill to address the cost of prescription drugs for Medicare beneficiaries and extend the enhanced subsidies for insurance premiums under the Affordable Care Act. Meanwhile, the abortion issue continues to roil the nation as Indiana becomes the first state to ban the procedure in almost all cases since the Supreme Court overruled the constitutional right to abortion in June. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet, and Rachel Cohrs of Stat join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Kansas Makes a Statement

In the first official test vote since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, voters in Kansas’ primary said in no uncertain terms they want to keep a right to abortion in their state constitution. Meanwhile, the Senate is still working to reach a vote before summer recess on its health care-climate-tax measure, but progress is slow. Tami Luhby of CNN, Sandhya Raman of CQ Roll Call, and Rachel Cohrs of Stat join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews KHN’s Bram Sable-Smith, who wrote the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” installment about a very expensive ambulance trip.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Manchin Makes a Deal

In a rare surprise for official Washington, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) announced a deal to expand the planned health bill in the Senate to include provisions raising taxes and addressing climate change. The measure would include a third year of expanded subsidies for the Affordable Care Act, but not health care coverage for people left out of Medicaid in states that failed to expand the program. Meanwhile, the ACA goes back to court, and the Biden administration restores anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people that were rolled back by the Trump administration. Joanne Kenen of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Politico, Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet, and Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews Dr. Céline Gounder of KHN about the latest on the monkeypox outbreak.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Drug Price Bill Is a Go in the Senate

Two things happened in Washington this week that were inevitable: President Joe Biden tested positive for covid-19, and the Senate agreed to move forward on a budget bill that includes only a sliver of what Biden hoped it would. Still, the bill to allow Medicare to negotiate some drug prices, cap out-of-pocket drug costs for seniors, and extend temporary subsidies for Affordable Care Act insurance premiums would represent a major step if Democrats can get it across the finish line. Meanwhile, abortion battles continue to escalate around the country, with Texas leading the way in restrictions. Shefali Luthra of The 19th, 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 issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews Dr. Jack Resneck Jr., the new president of the American Medical Association.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Life After ‘Roe’ Is … Confusing

A rapidly changing landscape for abortion has left patients, providers, employers, and lawmakers alike wondering what is and is not legal and what to do next. Meanwhile, Democrats in Congress have resumed negotiations on legislation to lower drug prices and, potentially, continue expanded insurance subsidies for the Affordable Care Act. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Tami Luhby of CNN, and Sandhya Raman 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?’: A Chat With the Surgeon General on Health Worker Burnout

Health workers are not OK, and that poses a threat to anyone who may need health services. That’s the central finding of the latest report from the office of U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, “Addressing Health Worker Burnout.” This special episode of KHN’s “What the Health?” podcast is a conversation about the report between Murthy and KHN chief Washington correspondent Julie Rovner, which was recorded at the annual research meeting of AcademyHealth in June.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: A World Without ‘Roe’

The Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade has created far more questions than it has answered about the continued legality and availability of abortion, as both abortion rights supporters and anti-abortion activists scramble to put their marks on policy. Meanwhile, Congress completes work on its gun bill and the FDA takes up the problem of the next covid-19 booster. Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet, and Victoria Knight of KHN join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews KHN’s Angela Hart, who reported and wrote the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” episode about two identical eye surgeries with very different price tags.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Supreme Court Overturns ‘Roe’

It was expected, but the reality was still jarring: The Supreme Court has formally overturned Roe v. Wade, erasing the nearly 50-year-old guarantee of abortion rights nationwide. Joanne Kenen of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Sarah Varney of KHN, and Laurie Sobel, associate director for women’s health policy at KFF, join KHN’s Julie Rovner for this special episode to talk about the decision and what happens next for reproductive health care.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The FDA Goes After Nicotine

The FDA is using its power to regulate tobacco products — ordering the vaping device Juul off the market and announcing its intention to lower the amount of nicotine in cigarettes and other products. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court rules on Medicare and kidney dialysis, and Congress makes progress on legislation surrounding guns and mental health. 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 issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews KHN’s Noam N. Levey about the new KHN-NPR project on the growing impact of medical debt.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Closing In on Covid Vaccines for ‘The Littles’

The wait is nearly over for parents of kids under 5 as a key advisory committee to the FDA recommends authorizing a covid-19 vaccine for the youngest children. Meanwhile, Congress is struggling to fill in the details of its gun control compromise, and, as the Supreme Court prepares to throw the question of abortion legality back to the states, the number of abortions has been rising. Shefali Luthra of The 19th, Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet, and Sandhya Raman 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?’: Taking a Shot at Gun Control

The U.S. House passed a package of bills seeking to keep some guns out of the hands of children and teenagers, but its fate in the Senate remains a big question mark. Meanwhile, the Federal Trade Commission takes on drug and hospital prices. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Anna Edney of Bloomberg News, 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 Cori Uccello of the American Academy of Actuaries about the most recent report from Medicare’s trustees board.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Washington’s Slow Churn

Stemming gun violence is back on the legislative agenda following three mass shootings in less than a month, but it’s hard to predict success when so many previous efforts have failed. Meanwhile, lawmakers must soon decide if they will extend current premium subsidies for those buying health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, and the Biden administration acts, belatedly, on Medicare premiums. Margot Sanger-Katz of the New York Times, Sandhya Raman of CQ Roll Call, and Rachel Cohrs of Stat News join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews KHN’s Michelle Andrews, who reported and wrote the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” episode about a too-common problem: denial of no-cost preventive care for a colonoscopy under the Affordable Care Act.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: A(nother) Very Sad Week

Two mass shootings in two weeks — one at a Texas elementary school that killed 19 fourth graders and two teachers — have reignited the “guns-as-public-health-problem” debate. But political consensus seems as far away as ever. Meanwhile, the FDA is in the congressional hot seat over its handling of the infant formula shortage. Joanne Kenen of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Politico, Anna Edney of Bloomberg News, and Rachana Pradhan of KHN join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews Dr. Richard Baron, head of the American Board of Internal Medicine, about how doctors should discipline colleagues who spread medical misinformation.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Waking Up to Baby Formula Shortage

The nationwide shortage of baby formula, which has been simmering for months, finally burst into public consciousness as more parents become less able to find food for their babies, prompting a belated federal response. Meanwhile, covid-19 cases rise but prevention activities don’t, and abortion-rights backers ready their legal arsenal for a post-Roe world. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Tami Luhby of CNN, and Rachel Cohrs of Stat join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Plus, for extra credit, the panelists suggest their favorite health policy stories of the week they think you should read, too.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The Invisible Pandemic

Covid cases are again climbing, but you wouldn’t know it from the behavior of public health and elected officials, much less the general public, all of whom seem to want to put the pandemic in the rearview mirror. Meanwhile, the fallout over the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion on abortion continues even as the Senate fails — again — to muster the votes to write abortion rights into law. Joanne Kenen of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Politico, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, and Sandhya Raman of CQ Roll Call join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Plus, for extra credit, the panelists suggest their favorite health policy stories of the week they think you should read, too.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Leaked Abortion Opinion Rocks Washington’s World

The unprecedented early leak of a Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn the landmark abortion-rights ruling Roe v. Wade has heated the national abortion debate to boiling. Meanwhile, the FDA, after years of consideration, moves to ban menthol flavors in cigarettes and cigars. Joanne Kenen of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Politico, Shefali Luthra of the 19th, and Jessie Hellmann of CQ Roll Call join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Plus, Rovner interviews KHN’s Paula Andalo, who wrote the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” episode about a family whose medical debt drove them to seek care south of the border.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: More Covid Complications for Congress

Congress is back in session, but covid diagnoses for Vice President Kamala Harris and two Democratic senators have temporarily left the Senate without a working majority to approve continued covid funding. Meanwhile, opponents of the Affordable Care Act have filed yet another lawsuit challenging a portion of the law, and we say goodbye to the late Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, who left a long legacy of health laws. Rachel Cohrs of STAT News, Anna Edney of Bloomberg News, and Rebecca Adams of KHN join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: A Conversation With Peter Lee on What’s Next for the ACA

Amid covid-19, the potential overturn of Roe v. Wade, and a war in Europe, the Affordable Care Act has been flying under the radar in 2022. But this will be a pivotal year for the federal health law. Unless Congress acts, millions of Americans could see their costs for coverage rise dramatically as expanded subsidies expire. At the same time, the end of the public health emergency could boost the uninsured rate as states disenroll people from Medicaid. Peter Lee, who recently stepped down as the first executive director of the largest state-run ACA insurance marketplace, Covered California, has thought long and hard about how the ACA came to be, how it’s been implemented, and what should happen to it now. He joins host and KHN chief Washington correspondent Julie Rovner for a wide-ranging discussion on the state of the ACA.