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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?
President Joe Biden is wasting no time getting to work. On his first day in office, Biden signed a series of executive orders addressing the covid pandemic, promising more to come. But even with Democrats taking the barest majority in the Senate, the new president’s ambitious proposals on covid and other health issues could be in for a rough ride. Alice Miranda Ollstein 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 recommend their favorite health policy stories of the week they think you should read too.
In late December, then-President Donald Trump signed a law that eliminates — only for people with Lou Gehrig’s disease — the required five-month waiting period before benefits begin under the Social Security Disability Insurance program. Gaining SSDI also gives these patients immediate Medicare health coverage.
Months after President Donald Trump credited monoclonal antibody therapy for his quick recovery from covid-19, only a trickle of the product has found its way into regular people. While hundreds of thousands of vials sit unused, sick patients who might benefit from early treatment have been left on their own to vie for access.
Host Dan Weissmann talked about a new federal rule — a requirement for hospitals to make public the prices they negotiate with insurers — with Niala Boodhoo for the daily-news podcast “Axios Today.”
California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s 2021-22 budget blueprint would direct billions in state covid assistance to schools, businesses and the state’s vaccination effort. But he didn’t propose more funding for the state’s 61 local health agencies, which have taken on increased responsibility for testing, contact tracing and enforcement of health orders.
With a majority too small to eliminate the filibuster, Democrats will not have enough votes in the Senate to pass many of their plans without Republicans and will also have only a razor-thin majority in the House. This combination could doom many Democratic health care proposals, like offering Americans a government-sponsored public insurance option, and complicate efforts to pass further pandemic relief.
Former health care executive Wendell Potter said, “What I used to do for a living was mislead people into thinking that we had the best health care system in the world.” Now, Potter is a health care whistleblower and spent part of 2020 publishing high-profile apologies for the work he used to do.
President Donald Trump made substantial changes to the nation’s health care system using executive branch authority. But reversing policies that Democrats oppose would take time and personnel resources, competing with other priorities of the new administration.