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

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?’: Vaccine Approval Moves the Needle on Covid

The FDA’s formal approval of the first vaccine to prevent covid-19 may or may not prompt doubters to go out and get shots, but it has clearly prompted employers to make vaccination a work requirement. Meanwhile, moderates and liberals in the U.S. House put aside their differences long enough to keep a giant social-spending bill on track, at least for now. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Tami Luhby of CNN and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet 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.

Why is the South the Epicenter of Anti-Abortion Fervor?

The Supreme Court, come autumn, will consider a Mississippi law that bans nearly all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. That’s hardly the most restrictive abortion law passed in the South. How did anti-abortion views become concentrated in the South?

Biden Is Caught in the Middle of Polarizing Abortion Politics

The president, one of the last of a disappearing group of politicians who sought moderate compromises on abortion policy, is frustrating supporters. They wanted faster changes in federal rules. But abortion opponents — including Catholic bishops— are also taking him to task.