Latest California Healthline Stories
After a year of uncharacteristically being on the same page when it comes to health care, Democratic lawmakers are at loggerheads about what to do next. Most agree the time is ripe to tackle high drug prices. But they divide over whether to take savings from that to move to a ‘Medicare for All’ insurance system, enhance the current Medicare program or strengthen benefits under the Affordable Care Act.
It’s 100 days into Joe Biden’s presidency and a surprisingly large number of health policies have been announced. But health is notably absent from the administration’s $1.8 trillion spending plan for American families, making it unclear how much more will get done this year. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention loosens its mask-wearing recommendations for those who have been vaccinated, but the new rules are confusing. 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. Plus, Rovner interviews KHN’s Julie Appleby, who reported the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” episode.
A misguided federal program called the Unapproved Drugs Initiative, which put the FDA’s stamp of approval on old drugs, led to higher prices. It’s scrapped. So now what?
The ink is barely dry on the recent covid relief bill, but Democrats in Congress and President Joe Biden are wasting no time gearing up for their next big legislative package. Meanwhile, predictions of more states expanding Medicaid have proved premature. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Rachel Cohrs of Stat and Kimberly Leonard of Business Insider join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Plus, Rovner interviews KHN’s Lauren Weber, who reported the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” episode.
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.
Progressive and conservative Democratic lawmakers, as well as President Joe Biden, are in favor of authorizing federal officials to negotiate with drugmakers over what Medicare pays for at least some of the most expensive brand-name drugs and to base those prices on the drugs’ clinical benefits. Such a measure could put Republicans in the uncomfortable position of opposing an idea that most voters from both parties generally support.
The measures would impose taxes on increases in the price of drugs that don’t reflect improved clinical value and set the rates paid by state-run and commercial health plans to a benchmark based on prices in Canada.
As president, Donald Trump encouraged states to bring in drugs from Canada, where prices are cheaper. It’s not clear if the new administration will follow suit.
With U.S. cases skyrocketing, demand for Gilead’s dark horse antiviral is only growing. Biden appointees propose potential legal tactics to tamp down the price for patients.
KHN has teamed up with PolitiFact to track what becomes of President Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign promises over the next four years. As he moves into the West Wing, what are his chances of making progress on health care?