Capitol Desk

Latest Kaiser Health News Stories

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

KHN Original

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?’: Graham’s Bill Recenters Abortion Debate

KHN Original

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?’: A Big Week for Biden

KHN Original

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?’: Boosting Confusion

KHN Original

Federal health officials appear poised to extend a recommendation for covid boosters to all adults, following moves by some governors and mayors to broaden the eligible booster pool as caseloads rise. Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration finally has a nominee to head the agency: former FDA chief Robert Califf. And Medicare premiums for consumers will likely rise substantially in 2022, partly due to the approval of a controversial drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease. Tami Luhby of CNN, Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet and Rachel Cohrs of Stat join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews Dan Weissmann, host of the “An Arm and a Leg” podcast.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Why Health Care Is So Expensive, Chapter $22K

KHN Original

Congress is making slow progress toward completing its ambitious social spending bill, although its Thanksgiving deadline looks optimistic. Meanwhile, a new survey finds the average cost of an employer-provided family plan has risen to more than $22,000. That’s about the cost of a new Toyota Corolla. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Anna Edney of Bloomberg News and Rebecca Adams of CQ Roll Call join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews Rebecca Love, a nurse academic and entrepreneur, about the impending crisis in nursing.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Compromise Is Coming — Maybe

KHN Original

Democratic negotiators on Capitol Hill appear to be nearing a compromise on President Joe Biden’s social spending agenda, spurred partly by Democratic losses on Election Day in Virginia. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court hints it might allow abortion providers to sue Texas over its restrictive new ban. But the relief, if it comes, could be short-lived if the court uses a second case, challenging a law in Mississippi, to weaken or overturn Roe v. Wade. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times and Mary Ellen McIntire of CQ Roll Call join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interviews KHN’s Rae Ellen Bichell, who reported and wrote the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” feature about an emergency bill for a nonemergency birth.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The Autumn of Democrats’ Discontent

KHN Original

Congress is back in session with a short time to finish a long to-do list, including keeping the government operating and paying its bills. Hanging in the balance is President Joe Biden’s entire domestic agenda, including major changes proposed for Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. Meanwhile, the new Texas abortion law that bans the procedure early in pregnancy is prompting action in Washington. 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 these issues and more. Also, Rovner interviews former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb about his new book on the covid-19 pandemic.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Much Ado About Drug Prices

KHN Original

Democrats have hit a snag in their effort to compile a $3.5 trillion social-spending bill this fall — moderates are resisting support for Medicare drug price negotiation provisions that would pay for many of the measure’s health benefit improvements. Meanwhile, the new abortion restrictions in Texas have moved the divisive issue back to the political front burner. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Rachel Cohrs of Stat and Shefali Luthra of The 19th join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also this week, Rovner interview’s KHN’s Phil Galewitz about the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” installment, about two similar jaw surgeries with very different price tags.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The Senate Acts

KHN Original

The U.S. Senate worked well into its scheduled August recess to pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill and a budget blueprint that outlines a much larger bill — covering key health priorities — to be written this fall. Meanwhile, the latest surge of covid is making both employers and schools rethink their opening plans. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Mary Ellen McIntire of CQ Roll Call and Yasmeen Abutaleb of The Washington Post 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?’: Hot Covid Summer

KHN Original

The summer that promised to let Americans resume a relatively normal life is turning into another summer of anxiety and face masks, as the delta variant drives covid caseloads up in all 50 states. Meanwhile, the Americans with Disabilities Act turns 35, and the Missouri Supreme Court orders the state to expand Medicaid after all. Mary Ellen McIntire of CQ Roll Call, Anna Edney of Bloomberg News and Rachana Pradhan of KHN join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also, Rovner interviews KHN’s Samantha Young, who reported and wrote the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” episode about an Olympic-level athlete with an Olympic-size medical bill.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Delta Changes the Covid Conversation

KHN Original

With covid cases on the upswing again around the country, partisan division remains over how to address the pandemic. Meanwhile, the Biden administration proposes bigger penalties for hospitals that fail to make their prices public as required. Stephanie Armour of The Wall Street Journal, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico and Tami Luhby of CNN join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also, for “extra credit,” the panelists suggest their favorite stories of the week they think you should read, too.