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KHN’s ‘What The Health?’

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The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is giving new life to the latest constitutional challenge to the Affordable Care Act. It also places anti-abortion activists on the cusp of a court majority large enough to ensure the rollback of the right to abortion and, possibly, some types of birth control. Meanwhile, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar tries to centralize power at the sprawling department plagued by miscommunications and scandals. Anna Edney of Bloomberg News, Kimberly Leonard of Business Insider and Mary Ellen McIntire of CQ Roll Call join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Plus, Rovner interviews KHN’s Sarah Jane Tribble about her new podcast, “Where It Hurts,” debuting Sept. 29.

President Donald Trump this week issued a prescription drug pricing order unlikely to lower drug prices, and he contradicted comments by his director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the need for mask-wearing and predictions for vaccine availability. Meanwhile, scandals erupted at the CDC, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Food and Drug Administration. And the number of people without health insurance grew in 2019, reported the Census Bureau, even while the economy soared. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Tami Luhby of CNN and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more. Plus, for extra credit, the panelists recommend their favorite health policy stories of the week they think you should read, too.

Republicans have all but abandoned the Affordable Care Act as a campaign cudgel, judging from their national convention, at least. Meanwhile, career scientists at the federal government’s preeminent health agencies — the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health — are all coming under increasing political pressure as the pandemic drags on. 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 this and more. Plus, Rovner interviews KHN’s Elizabeth Lawrence about the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” installment.

We’re off this week, but the Affordable Care Act is in the news, as the GOP holds its virtual convention and the Supreme Court recently scheduled arguments in a case challenging the law. So we’re reposting our ACA 10th anniversary episode from March. For this special episode of “What the Health?” host Julie Rovner interviews Kathleen Sebelius, who was President Barack Obama’s secretary of Health and Human Services when the law was passed. Then Rovner, Joanne Kenen of Politico and Mary Agnes Carey of KHN discuss the law’s history, impact and prospects for the future.

In a highly produced, made-for-TV political convention, Democrats papered over their differences on a variety of issues, including health care, to show a unified front to defeat President Donald Trump in November. Meanwhile, COVID-19 continues to complicate efforts to get students back to school, and a federal judge blocks the Trump administration’s efforts to eliminate anti-discrimination protections for transgender people. Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, Paige Winfield Cunningham of The Washington Post and Shefali Luthra of The 19th join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more. Plus, for extra credit, the panelists recommend their favorite health stories of the week they think you should read, too.

The Democratic presidential ticket is complete, with Joe Biden’s selection of California Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate. Health has not been a major issue for Harris, whose career priority has been the criminal justice system. But expect Republicans to pounce on her on-again, off-again support for “Medicare for All.” Meanwhile, with Congress still in a stalemate over another round of COVID-19 relief, President Donald Trump is trying to use his executive power to do what lawmakers have not — with mixed success. Kimberly Leonard of Business Insider, Joanne Kenen of Politico and Mary Agnes Carey of KHN join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more. Plus, for extra credit, the panelists recommend their favorite health stories of the week they think you should read, too.

President Donald Trump keeps promising a comprehensive plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. And he keeps not delivering. Meanwhile, members of Congress and White House officials seem unable to agree on a new COVID-19 relief bill. And Missouri becomes the sixth state where voters approved a Medicaid expansion ballot measure. Tami Luhby of CNN, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico and Kimberly Leonard of Business Insider join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more. Plus, for extra credit, the panelists recommend their favorite health stories of the week they think you should read, too.

President Donald Trump’s sobering view of COVID-19 didn’t last long – this week, he was back to pushing hydroxychloroquine, a drug that has been shown not to work in treating the virus. Meanwhile, Republicans on Capitol Hill are still scrambling to agree among themselves and with the White House on the next coronavirus relief bill, as both a moratorium on evictions and extra unemployment payments expire. And the debate over drug prices, which was going to be one of the biggest health issues of this election year, makes a brief appearance. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Mary Ellen McIntire of CQ Roll Call and Anna Edney of Bloomberg News join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more. Also, Rovner interviews KHN’s Markian Hawryluk, who wrote the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” story about a surprise bill from a surprise surgical assistant.

President Donald Trump has, for now at least, become a realist on the extent of the COVID-19 crisis around the country, and he is urging Americans to socially distance and wear masks. Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, Republicans facing a July 31 deadline are scrambling to come together on their version of the next COVID relief bill. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times and Tami Luhby of CNN join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more. Also, Rovner interviews NPR’s Pam Fessler, author of the new book “Carville’s Cure,” which traces the history of the United States’ only federal leprosarium.

Case counts for COVID-19 are rising in nearly every state, yet a major campaign by the Trump administration this past week was an attempt to discredit Dr. Anthony Fauci, a trusted voice in public health. Meanwhile, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s surprise decision to protect abortion rights, there’s been a flurry of activity on reproductive health issues in lower federal courts. Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Paige Winfield Cunningham of The Washington Post and Erin Mershon of Stat News join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this and more.