Capitol Desk

Latest Kaiser Health News Stories

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.

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

KHN Original

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?’: Expanding the ACA in an Unpredicted Way

KHN Original

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

KHN Original

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?’: Open Enrollment, One More Time

KHN Original

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?’: On Capitol Hill, Actions Have Consequences

KHN Original

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

KHN Original

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.