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Health Policy

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Negotiations on the health parts of President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda are getting serious but have yet to produce a deal every Democrat can support. Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration remains without a nominated leader but manages to take the first steps toward approving over-the-counter hearing aids. Joanne Kenen of Politico and Johns Hopkins, Tami Luhby of CNN 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.

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.

Private agencies that bring young adults to the U.S. to care for children generally offer basic health insurance, but plans may exclude many types of necessary care. What the agencies might not mention is that au pairs are eligible to enroll in comprehensive coverage on the Affordable Care Act marketplaces and likely qualify for premium subsidies that would make the insurance affordable.

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.

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.