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.
Indiana’s program seeks to give expansion enrollees “skin in the game,” requiring that they pay small monthly premiums and manage health savings accounts.
Rural Mendocino County had finally figured out its vaccination program. But now the community clinics that helped make it happen are changing course as Blue Shield of California takes over the state vaccine program.
In his campaign, President Joe Biden promised to undo policies, particularly health policies, implemented by former President Donald Trump. Yet, despite immense executive power, reversing four years of action takes time and resources.
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.
The $1.9 trillion covid relief bill expands subsidies for private insurance plans. That will lighten the burden on consumers, but it locks taxpayers into yet more support for the health care industry.
Democrats’ $1.9 trillion covid relief package will offer some of the most significant help for Americans to pay for health insurance in a decade. But the temporary provisions are complicated. KHN offers tips for consumers.
A Trump administration Medicare rule will push some hospital patients into a Catch-22: The government says several hundred procedures no longer need to be done in a hospital, but it did not approve them to be performed elsewhere. So patients will still need to use a hospital while not officially admitted — and may be charged more out-of-pocket for the care.
Insurance giant Blue Shield of California has made millions in charitable and political donations to Gov. Gavin Newsom over nearly two decades, largely to his dearly held homeless initiatives. In turn, Newsom has rewarded the insurer with a $15 million no-bid contract to lead the state’s covid vaccination distribution.
Montana is looking to join most other states in requiring small businesses to offer laid-off employees temporary continuity of their health care plans. But the bill, if it passes, likely won’t take effect in time to help people directly affected by the pandemic.