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 Politics of Vaccine Mandates

Like almost everything else associated with the covid-19 pandemic, partisans are taking sides over whether vaccines should be mandated. Meanwhile, Democrats on Capitol Hill are still struggling to find compromise in their effort to expand health insurance and other social programs. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Jen Haberkorn of the Los Angeles 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 best-selling author Beth Macy about her book “Dopesick,” and the new Hulu miniseries based on it.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Abortion Politics Front and Center

The polarizing abortion issue threatens to tie up Congress, the Supreme Court and the states for the coming year. Meanwhile, Congress kicks the can down the road to December on settling its spending priorities. Joanne Kenen of Politico and the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Yasmeen Abutaleb of The Washington Post 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 Aneri Pattani, who delivered the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” episode about a covid test that cost as much as a luxury car.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The Health Agenda Still on Hold

Negotiations continue on Capitol Hill over President Joe Biden’s health agenda — along with a long list of other items. With Republicans on the sidelines, liberal Democrats delayed a House vote on a Senate-passed infrastructure bill to extract moderates’ support for a social-spending bill that includes expansions of benefits for Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. Meanwhile, the Biden administration’s new rules to prevent “surprise” medical bills pleases some health stakeholders and angers others. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Tami Luhby of CNN and Kimberly Leonard of Insider join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also, Rovner interviews Anna Flagg of the Marshall Project about how a century-old report on medical education contributed to racial inequities that persist today.

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

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

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 Future of Public Health

The covid pandemic has spotlighted the often-unseen role of public health in Americans’ daily lives. And the picture has not all been pretty. What is public health and why is it so important — and controversial? Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, explains the basics. Then, Joanne Kenen of Politico and Lauren Weber of KHN join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss what could happen next.

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.

KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: Booster Time

As the delta variant continues to spread around the U.S., the Biden administration is taking steps to authorize covid vaccine boosters, require nursing home workers to be vaccinated and protect school officials who want to require masks despite state laws banning those mandates. Meanwhile, the U.S. House is returning from its summer break early to start work on its giant budget bill, which includes a long list of health policy changes. Alice Miranda Ollstein 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.

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

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?’: Delta Blues

Covid is back with a vengeance, with some people clamoring for booster shots while others harden their resistance to getting vaccinated at all. Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration is pushing hard on drugmaker Pfizer’s request to upgrade the emergency authorization for its vaccine and give it final approval. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Rachel Cohrs of Stat and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet 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.